Webjet backs down as Wotif.com stands to secure travel.com.au
In a report by the Australian Financial Review (AFR), Wotif.com appears to have won the drawn-out battle for the online travel business, travel.com.au after rival bidder Webjet pulled out from the race this week.
At 55 cents a share, Wotif secured 19.5 per cent interest in travel.com.au from News Limited’s technology investment company Netus on Monday.
As a result, Wotif restructured its bid and offered an all-cash option of 57 cent a share or an all-scrip offer of between 0.1018 and 0.1188 Wotif share per travel.com.au share, on the condition that it reaches 90 percent minimum acceptance.
This values travel.com.au at about $57 million – much higher than Wotif’s initial valuation of $49.8 million.
Webjet managing director David Clarke welcomed the revised bid and said that Webjet would be selling its 19.9 percent stake in travel.com.au.
“We put our bid in at a price that we considered to be appropriate,” Clarke was quoted as saying in the AFR. “Obviously Wotif have a different value set to us; time will tell whether they have proven to be prudent or whether they have not.”
Meanwhile, Wotif chief operating officer Robbie Cooke told AFR that Wotif’s offer was fair.
“That’s demonstrated by the fact a substantial shareholder in [travel.com.au] has agreed to sell 19.5 percent of their shares to us at 55 cents,” Cooke said.
The AFR believes that other major shareholders in travel.com.au such as managing director Adam Johnson and Co-Investor Capital Partners will also sell their holdings.