Technology

Wotif to be bought by Expedia in a $700m deal

Bronwen Clune /

Global travel booking giant Expedia has launched a $700 million takeover bid for Australia’s Wotif.com.

Under the deal, Expedia Group will pay $3.06 per share to acquire all Wotif.com Holdings shares and shareholders will also receive a special dividend of 24 cents per security.

The total $3.30 payment is a 31% premium on the average trading price for Wotif.com shares over the past five days and the company has recommended shareholders accept the offer.

In a statement on the deal, Dara Khosrowshahi, president and chief executive officer, Expedia, Inc. says Wotif Group is well positioned in the Asia-Pacific region with a portfolio of leading travel brands.

“This acquisition will allow both companies to continue driving growth opportunities by leveraging the unique strengths each brings to the table,” he says.

“Wotif Group will add to our collection of travel’s most trusted brands and enhance our Asia-Pacific supply, while Expedia will expose Wotif Group’s customers to our extensive global supply and world-class technology.”

Wotif Group operates online travel brands in the Asia-Pacific region including, Wotif.com, lastminute.com.au, travel.com.au, Asia Web Direct, LateStays.com, GoDo.com.au and Arnold Travel Technology.

Wotif Group recorded $593 million in gross bookings (total transaction value) and $76 million in revenue, in addition to generating 3.2 million room nights, during the six months ended December 31, 2013. Its multi-product portfolio focuses primarily on hotel and air, offering consumers more than 29,000 bookable properties in destinations around the world.

“Joining Expedia allows us to rapidly advance two of our strategic initiatives — strengthening offshore supply and improving our customer and supplier value propositions through enhanced technology,” says Scott Blume, managing director and chief executive officer of Wotif Group.

“We believe this will help solidify our position as the premier travel brand in Australia and New Zealand, grow our business across the Asia-Pacific region and increase our exposure and brand awareness to inbound international travellers.”

The completion of the acquisition is subject to approval by the shareholders of Wotif.com Holdings Limited and other customary closing conditions, including applicable regulatory approvals. Subject to receipt of such approvals, the transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2014.

This article first appeared on StartupSmart.

 

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Bronwen Clune

Bronwen has extensive experience in startups having run her own, worked at Australia’s leading startup incubator and as digital director at a local VC fund. She’s the vice-president of the Public Interest Journalism Foundation with a keen interest in digital media and the future of journalism. She has over 15 years experience as a journalist and is also a popular columnist with The Guardian.

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