Wotif.com goes hard after travel.com.au

The battle to acquire listed online travel agency travel.com.au escalated to a new level yesterday after the announcement of a $50 million bid by Wotif.com to buy the business.

Wotif.com’s bid involves a cash payment of 0.50¢ per travel.com.au share, or a share offer of between 0.0893 and 0.1042 Wotif.com shares for each travel.com.au share.

Wotif.com joins online flight booking site Webjet in attempting to acquire travel.com.au. Webjet made a combined cash/shares offer for travel.com.au in early September valuing the company at about 45¢ a share, which was unanimously accepted by travel.com.au’s board.

Wotif.com’s chief operating officer, Robbie Cooke, said in a statement released to the ASX that both companies would benefit from the proposed acquisition.

“We are exited about the opportunities that will arise from combining both companies; we will be able to significantly enhance travel.com.au’s accommodation offering and we will be able to explore avenues to leverage off travel.com.au’s other travel products,” Cooke says.

In a short statement, Travel.com.au says it will consider the Wotif.com offer and has advised shareholders to take no action in the meantime.

Travel.com.au shares were trading at 60¢ at 11.40 am today after closing at 58¢ yesterday, while Wotif.com shares have dropped slightly from yesterday’s close of 5.34¢ to be worth $5.33 at 11.40am today.

It remains to be seen whether Webjet will make another offer for travel.com.au.

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