Expedia to buy Wotif.com for $700 million

Summary:Expedia has begun a $700 million takeover bid for Wotif.com, with both Wotif founders and the chairman backing the move.

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

Under the deal, Expedia Group will pay AU$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 AU$3.30 payment is a 31 per cent premium on the average trading price for Wotif.com shares over the past five days and the company has recommended shareholders accept the offer.

Company founders Graeme Wood and Andrew Bice have agreed to sell their shares to Expedia. Wood holds around 20 percent of shares in the company while Bice owns around 15.5 percent.

Wotif.com Holdings has entered into a Scheme of Implementation agreement with the US company.

Wotif chairman Dick McIlwain said the sale was the best way to maximise shareholder value.

"As a board, we have carefully assessed the changing dynamics of the markets in which we operate, and the uncertainties and risks that we would face if we were to continue as an independent company," he said in a statement on Monday.

"With that in mind, we believe that shareholder value will be maximised and that Wotif Group will be best positioned for the future, through the proposed transaction."

McIlwain said Expedia would be able to leverage Wotif.com's brand in an increasingly global travel market.

Topics: Travel Tech, Australia

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