Webjet Limited to buy Online Republic for $NZ85 million

Credit: deeplimo

Webjet Limited (ASX: WEB) this morning announced it will acquire the Online Republic group of companies for NZ$85 million.

Webjet, a leading online marketplace for airfares and hotel bookings, says the deal leverages its core capabilities while creating an attractive entry into the online car rental, motorhome and cruise segments.

“Online Republic has market leading positions in each of its core segments, with a #1 position globally in online motorhome rental bookings, a #1 position across Australia and New Zealand for online cruise bookings, and #2 for online car rental bookings across Australia and New Zealand,” Webjet’s ASX announcement read.

“Online Republic is highly complementary to Webjet’s existing portfolio, enabling our business to further expand its offering in car rental and cruise and enter the high growth motorhome rental market,” Webjet Managing Director, John Guscic, said. “We see significant opportunities in applying the benefit of our marketing and branding expertise, together with our scale, to drive market share gains across Online Republic’s respective segments.”

The purchase price of NZ$85 million represents an acquisition price of 7x operating earnings, which are based on Online Republic’s 2016 pro-forma results to 31 March 2016.

Webjet says the purchase is consistent with its growth target and is expected to generate double-digit earnings per share accretion in FY16 on a pro-forma basis before synergies.

During its most recent 12-month period, the company generated total transaction value of NZ$229 million, revenue of NZ$40 million and pro-forma operating profit of NZ$12 million.

Under the binding deal, Online Republic senior management will remain in their roles and receive Webjet shares for 22% of the purchase price. The remainder will be funded via the issuance of shares.

Webjet today entered a trading halt to undertake the institutional component of its capital raising. Meanwhile, eligible retail shareholders also have the opportunity to participate in the capital raising via a fully underwritten pro rata accelerated non-renounceable entitlement offer. Put simply, that means investors are able to buy one new share at $6.21 for every 6.25 they currently hold.

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz does not have a financial interest in any company mentioned in this article. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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