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Online Republic bought by Oz's Webjet

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/06/2016
   © AP Photo/Rick Rycroft   

Australian travel booking website Webjet has snapped up New Zealand rival Online Republic for $NZ85 million as it moves to boost its presence in car rental and cruise markets.

The acquisition, partly funded by cash and the issuance of new Webjet shares, will give the company a foothold in the motorhome rental market.

"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," managing director John Guscic said.

The tie-up will also provide the opportunity to accelerate growth of the brands globally, Mr 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," he said in a statement.

Webjet shares have been placed in a trading halt while the company raises around $A7m ($NZ7.41m) via an entitlement offer at $A5.60 a share.

The group is also issuing 2.8 million new shares at $A6.21 a piece.

Webjet shares last traded at $A6.31, giving the company a market capitalisation of $A510.4m.

Online Republic generated total transaction value of $NZ229m for the 12 months to March 31, and annual revenue of $NX40m, according to Webjet

The New Zealand-based group booked annual pro-forma earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $NZ12 million, with more than 90 per cent of bookings generated outside of New Zealand.

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