The Expedia Group is buying up AirAsia’s remaining 25 per cent equity interest in AAE Travel, a joint venture formed by the two firms in March 2011 and in which Expedia Group has held 75 per cent equity since 2015.
AAE Travel had started out as a 50-50 partnership that gave Expedia exclusive online, third-party distribution rights of the airline’s flights and packages in Asia-Pacific, excluding Australia and New Zealand.
AirAsia’s divestment effectively dissolves the deal, opening up the LCC to new distribution channels, and prompting Expedia Group to integrate websites localised during the tie-up into its global platform.
The cash consideration for Expedia Group’s ownership is US$60 million, and excludes AirAsia’s concurrent purchase of AirAsiaGo.com domain names and related assets from AAE Travel.
AirAsiaGo.com, which offers a full suite of travel products including AirAsia flight and hotel packages featuring Expedia Group lodging content, will continue to be powered by Expedia Group.
“AirAsia has (helped) establish Brand Expedia as a strong and increasingly locally relevant player in the Asia region,” said Mark Okerstrom, president and CEO, Expedia Group. “This transaction unlocks better integration of our Brand Expedia Asia business into our core global travel platform, giving us even greater confidence in our ability to harness the huge growth potential that Asia represents.”
Tony Fernandes, group CEO of AirAsia, commented that the airline plans to continue working closely with Expedia Group in the future, particularly on regional and global distribution of flights.
He further shared: “This sale represents the divestment of the last of our non-core investments from the previous round of joint ventures. These proceeds will be used to develop big unicorn products such as BigPay, Travel 360, Redbox Logistics and Ourshop.”