Air Canada's surprise bid to take over Aeroplan once again may be an indication of how hard it is to start a new loyalty program from scratch. Or it may just be cutthroat business strategy. Nobody knows.
Air Canada and three financial firms are proposing to acquire the Aeroplan loyalty program from Aimia Inc. for C$250 million ($191 million) in cash.
The group, which includes Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, and Visa Canada Corp., said in a statement it would also assume the liability of about C$2 billion in Aeroplan points. The bid implies an estimated market value of C$3.64 per Aimia share, a 46 percent premium to its closing price of C$2.50 Tuesday, they said.
“The proposed transaction would result in a positive outcome for Aimia shareholders and Aeroplan members, allowing for a smooth transition of Aeroplan members’ points to Air Canada’s new loyalty program launching in 2020,” the companies said.
The group has requested Montreal-based Aimia respond to its proposal by Aug. 2. It said the proposed transaction is subject to due diligence and the customary conditions. Aimia has a market value of C$380 million.
Air Canada said last year it would will withdraw from Aimia’s Aeroplan program and start its own rewards plan in 2020. The key date for Aimia comes four years later — 2024 — when contracts with Toronto-Dominion and Canadian Imperial are due to expire.
Aimia said in May it had appointed Jeremy Rabe as its new chief executive officer. Rabe, the founding CEO of Premier Loyalty & Marketing, was nominated as a director by activist investor Mittleman Brothers and was added to the board on April 27.
A representative for Aimia was not immediately available for comment.
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Photo credit: Air Canada and three financial firms are proposing to acquire the Aeroplan loyalty program from Aimia Inc. for C$250 million ($191 million) in cash. Air Canada