AirAsia divests stake in AAE Travel to Expedia for RM306m (Update)

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Bhd is selling a 25% stake in an online travel agency AAE Travel Pte. Ltd (AAE) to Expedia Inc for US$86.25mil or RM306.18mil and this will see it recording a gain of US$78.76mil from the disposal.

The low-cost carrier said on Tuesday it has a 50% stake in AAE – a joint venture between Expedia and AirAsia – and the divestment will see it reducing the stake to 25%. Expedia’s total ownership in the JV will increase to 75%.

“The cost of investment by AirAsia on July 1, 2011 in the JV company will result in a gain on disposal of US$78.76mil  (RM279.59mil) on the share sale.

“AirAsia’s rationale for the transaction is to monetise its investment in the JV company and to increase its liquidity and access to capital,” it said.

On Monday night, AirAsia inked a share purchase agreement with Expedia, Expedia Southeast Asia Pte Ltd, and its unit AirAsia Exp Pte Ltd, to divest of a 25% stake in the JV to Expedia.

AAE was incorporated on June 3, 2011 in Singapore and operates as a licensed online travel agency in Singapore. It has or intends to have its presence in Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Japan, Hong Kong, India, Laos, Macao, Myanmar, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia,
Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam. 

The JV company has an issued and paid-up share capital of S$24.577mil comprising of 24.577 million S$1 shares each.

AirAsia Group CEO, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said the JV with Expedia started in 2011 and together, they have “built a fantastic business”. 

“The vision of marrying Expedia, a globally recognized and highly regarded travel agency, with the AirAsia group network has yielded a significant return in just over three years,” he said. 

Fernandes said AirAsia remains committed as partners as Expedia continues to develop in this region, and this agreement will simultaneously allow for the AirAsia group to further develop and diversify its distribution network.

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