Tricia Duryee

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Vacation Rental Site HomeAway Files for $230 Million IPO

Just in time for a flood of visitors to come to its hometown of Austin, Texas, for SXSW, the vacation rental company HomeAway has filed paperwork for a $230 million intial public offering.

HomeAway says it operates the world’s largest online marketplace for vacation rentals, with 31 sites in 11 languages, according to documents filed with the SEC today.

The company represents the third Internet company to file recently for an IPO, following Pandora and LinkedIn. HomeAway will trade under the ticker AWAY.

Over the past three years, the company reports, it has not once made a profit.

In 2010, it lost $18.3 million on revenues of $167.9 million. A year earlier, it lost $25.8 million on revenues of $120 million. Both years, the company paid out more than $30 million in preferred stock dividends.

If those payments are excluded, along with other expenses, it said, earnings before income, taxes, depreciation and amortization would have totaled $43 million in 2010.

Over the past five years, the company has expanded aggressively through almost a dozen acquisitions in various countries, spending about $377 million in cash and stock. Within a five-year period, HomeAway itself was able to raise $404.3 million in equity, plus an additional $110.5 million in debt.

Its big coming out party was an ad during the Super Bowl, although that fell a little bit flat when the company was forced to pull its commercial after drawing criticism for featuring a smushed baby. In the ad, a doll was thrown against a wall to demonstrate how cramped hotel rooms can be compared to more spacious rental houses.

The company intends to use the proceeds from the offering to pay $63.3 million in redeemable preferred stock and $29 million in unpaid dividends, with the remainder to go to working capital, including the acquisition of other businesses.

Morgan Stanley & Co., Deutsche Bank Securities, Goldman, Sachs & Co. and J.P. Morgan Securities will serve as the underwriters proposed offering. Stifel, Nicolaus & Company and Needham & Company will act as co-managers.