SEPANG, MALAYSIA, 2021-Mar-23 — /Travel PR News/ — AirAsia Group Berhad (AirAsia) today (22 March 2021) announced that it has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Aimia Holdings UK II Limited (Aimia) for the proposed acquisition by AirAsia of the remaining 1,665,000 ordinary shares in BigLife Sdn Bhd (BigLife), which are not already held by the Group.
The sale, representing 20% equity interest in BigLife to AirAsia Digital Sdn Bhd (AirAsia Digital), a wholly owned subsidiary of AirAsia, will be satisfied via the issuance of 85.86 million shares or an additional 2.2% stake in AirAsia, taking Aimia’s ownership to an approximate 3.1% equity stake in AirAsia upon completion of the transaction from the current 0.93% following Aimia’s participation in the 2nd tranche of AirAsia’s private placement recently. The transaction is expected to complete before the end of May 2021.
CEO of AirAsia Group, Tony Fernandes said: “Data and loyalty are two key ingredients for success in this digital era. We value the partnership with Aimia and this is a logical transaction that will deliver numerous benefits to both parties. As a reputable global institutional investor that has recently come on board through our private share placement, we are thrilled with Aimia’s decision to strengthen their position in AirAsia, giving us further confidence in our turnaround strategy post-pandemic, continuing with our digital pivot and solidifying our data-driven businesses.
“BigLife, that started out as a standard airline rewards programme has now expanded to offer a much broader digital currency for consumers to earn and redeem BIG Points across a strong ecosystem of synergistic travel and lifestyle products, beyond the airasia super app platform. BigLife’s BIG Rewards is already one of Asean’s largest lifestyle rewards platforms with over 25 million members. As we continue to diversify and offer an even larger range of products and services leveraging our travel and lifestyle ecosystem via the airasia super app, BigLife is on track to become the most beneficial loyalty currency in the region. With full ownership of BigLife, we will have more flexibility to drive innovation and growth to become Asean’s number one redemption platform, including our points exchange programme – BIG Xchange, that allows members to convert banking and other loyalty points immediately as a universal exchange hub for two way conversion between loyalty points.”
Aimia’s CEO, Phil Mittleman, commented: “We are excited for this new chapter in our partnership with AirAsia, a leading low-cost carrier across Southeast Asia and owner of a portfolio of valuable digital assets. By exchanging our minority position in BigLife for publicly traded stock in AirAsia, we will participate in what we believe will be significant upside in AirAsia’s equity, with the added benefit of liquidity. We fully support the airline’s recent efforts to strengthen its financial position and pursue its digital transformation, and we believe that AirAsia will emerge from the pandemic as a stronger airline, uniquely positioned to capitalize on the sizable pent-up demand that we believe exists for low-cost air travel across Southeast Asia and beyond.”
Aimia Inc. (TSX: AIM) is a holding company with a market cap of C$431m with a focus on long-term investments in public and private companies, on a global basis, through controlling or minority stakes. The company operates an investment advisory business through its wholly-owned subsidiary Mittleman Investment Management, LLC, and owns a diversified portfolio of valuable investments including a 48.9% equity stake in PLM Premier, S.A.P.I. de C.V. (PLM), owner and operator of Club Premier, the coalition loyalty program in Mexico that operates the Aeromexico Frequent Flyer programme, a 48.9% equity stake in Kognitiv, a B2B technology growth company enabling collaborative commerce, a 20.0% equity stake in BigLife, the operator of BIG Rewards, one of the largest loyalty programmes across Asia, a 10.85% stake in Clear Media Limited (100.HK) alongside Ever Harmonic Global Limited which comprises a consortium of investors such as Antfin Hong Kong (controlled by Ant Financial), JCDecaux, China Wealth Growth Fund III and Han Zi Jing the CEO of Clear Media. Clear Media Limited is one of the largest outdoor advertising firms in China. Aimia also holds minority stakes in a portfolio of public company securities.