Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Airlines

Capital A Wants to Merge AirAsia and AirAsia X

1 week ago

Malaysia’s Capital A has submitted plans for a corporate restructuring, which will involve the merger of its low-cost airline AirAsia with long-haul carrier AirAsia X.

The company will set up a new division, called AirAsia Aviation, which will be run by Bo Lingam, who is currently president, airlines and group CEO of AirAsia Aviation Group Limited.

Capital A will then also include two other portfolios: the digital businesses and the logistics plus aviation services. They will be managed by Captial A CEO Tony Fernandes, who stepped down as acting group CEO of AirAsia X earlier this month.

The group also wants to carry out a separate “spin-off listing” in the future for the aviation services businesses of Capital A.

The corporate restructuring is designed to help it exit its “PN17” status, given to it by Bursa Malaysia, Malaysia’s stock exchange, which classifies it as a financially-distressed firm.

“We were at the sharp end of Covid, as were many airlines around the world, but we are coming out of it stronger than before — our airlines and network are fast returning to pre-pandemic levels, and our digital businesses are performing better than many had expected,” Fernandes said in a statement.

“While our PN17 status remains an accounting issue and does not accurately reflect the business viability and prospects of Capital A, we have nevertheless worked very hard to develop a plan to address the PN17 status as a key part of our post-pandemic recovery journey.”

Capital A aims to submit its proposal to Bursa Malaysia for approval in February 2023.

Formerly known as AirAsia Group, Capital A has become an investment holding company with a  portfolio of business that includes its airasia superapp, which saw monthly active users reach more than 10.6 million in the second quarter of this year. It also operates fintech firm BigPay.

AirAsia X recently resumed flights between Kuala Lumpur and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

Short-Term Rentals

Short-Term Rental Firm RedAwning Bought Channel Manager Lexicon Travel Technologies

3 weeks ago

California-based RedAwning announced it acquired channel manager Lexicon Travel Technologies. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

redawning vacation rentals
A vacation rental in the RedAwning portfolio. Source: RedAwning

Channel managers have tech systems to assist accommodations in distributing their properties to websites such as Airbnb, Vrbo and Booking, and sometimes to global distribution systems, among other outlets.

“After we made the decision to sell our business, we looked for a company that would create true synergies with our existing value proposition,” said Joel Inman, CEO and founder of Lexicon. “As I got to know the RedAwning platform, I realized they have already solved many of the technical challenges Lexicon has been facing. RedAwning brings true technology and automation to channel management that delivers value through higher conversion with essentially zero manual work.”

RedAwning has a portfolio of some 15,000 managed and independent short-term rentals in North America, and already provides channel management services as it places them on websites such as Vrbo, Booking.com, Expedia, Homes & Villas by Marriott International, and Google Travel.

RedAwning hopes to pick up the channel management client roster of Lexicon Travel Technologies, which is headquartered in Park City, Utah. RedAwning is buying Lexicon’s channel management tech.

RedAwning said most of Lexicon’s clients have already related their intentions to use Red Awning for channel management.

“The transitions will be seamless for all of our new clients, as RedAwning already supports all of the same PMS (Property Management System) platforms as Lexicon and all of the channels too, as well as many more for Lexicon clients to join,” said RedAwning CEO Tim Choate in the announcement.

Earlier this week, property management tech company TravelNet Solutions said it acquired Rented, a revenue management company focusing on short-term rentals.

Hotels

Selina Files Paperwork to Move a Step Closer to Going Public Through SPAC

4 months ago

Hospitality brand Selina has filed paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to take another step in going public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company BOA Acquisition Corporation.

The timing is still vague, however.

“The proposed SPAC merger, which has been approved by the board of directors of BOA, is expected to be completed as soon as practicable, subject to approval by the shareholders of BOA, the effectiveness of the registration statement, and other customary closing conditions,” the company said.

Selina’s merger, which was originally due to close in the first half of this year, could see the company end up being valued at $1.2 billion. The brand generated $39.9 worth of revenue during the first quarter this year, a 150 percent increase from the same period last year.

Business Travel

American Express Global Business Travel To Debut on Tuesday — Interesting Factoids

6 months ago

It’s a holiday weekend in the U.S. so what better time to break up the monotony of barbecues and beach, and burrow into a Securities and Exchange Commission filing about the pending SPAC debut Tuesday of American Express Global Business Travel.

Among the takeaways:

  • The merger of Apollo Strategic Growth Capital and Amex GBT will see Amex GBT’s existing investors, including American Express, Certares, and Expedia Group, among others, controlling 74 percent of the voting power. They’ll have the power to make all of the big decisions, including board of director composition.
  • Global Business Travel Group, as the company will be formally called, will be considered to be controlled by American Express Co., and will be regulated by the U.S. Federal Reserve. As Skift previously reported, Global Business Travel Group can continue doing business as American Express Global Business Travel because of an 11-year trademark pact.
  • Only 15 percent of the company’s stock is expected to be owned by public shareholders.
  • Egencia, which Amex GBT acquired from Expedia Group in November 2021, did $8.4 billion in transactions in pre-pandemic 2019. Expedia Group traditionally disclosed revenue for its corporate segment, but not total transaction value for Egencia. That $8.4 billion would have amounted to roughly 8 percent of Expedia Group’s gross bookings that year.
  • The Egencia business was therefore a significant volumes chunk of Expedia Group, which sold Egencia during a huge business travel downturn in a drive to simplify Expedia’s overall operation. At any rate, Expedia Group got a 13 percent stake in Amex GBT because of the deal.
  • Ovation Travel, which Amex GBT acquired in January 2021, was tiny compared with Egencia in total transaction value, $1.2 billion for Ovation versus $8.4 billion for Egencia.
  • Amex GBT CEO Paul Abbott had 2021 total compensation of $18.4 million compared with $5 million a year earlier.

Tuesday’s stock market coming out party for Amex GBT, trading under the stock symbol GBTG, should be an interesting one to watch in terms of investor confidence in the future of managed business travel.

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