lastminute.com plc, has announced the acquisition of the lastminute.de group of companies in Germany, which comprise Anixe Systems GmbH, Avinex AG and Cinetic Internet Touristik GmbH to create the number one online travel brand in Germany.This key acquisition in the largest travel market in Europe creates the leading online travel company in Germany. ÊFollowing completion lastminute.com’s enlarged German group will generate pro-forma annualised TTV (Total Transaction Value) of over €150.0 million (approximately £100.0 million). The new group will have the broadest travel offering of any online company in Germany, offering product both through the trade and directly to consumers at enhanced Group retail margins. Ê
The acquisition values the lastminute.de business at €46.7 million (approximately £31.1 million) which will be satisfied by €24.0 million (approximately £16.0 million) in cash and the issue of 8,229,156 new shares in lastminute.com plc.
group of companies offers online access to package holidays and flights to German consumers to all popular travel destinations including Spain, Turkey, The Dominican Republic, Cuba and Egypt. ÊPassenger numbers in the business have been growing since 2001 and during the year to 31 December 2003 total transaction value (TTV) amounted to €49.3 million from 115,000 customers. ÊThe lastminute.de businesses achieved gross margins of approximately 16% in the last reported financial year to 31 December 2003. ÊFor the year to 31 December 2003 lastminute.de delivered €2.6 million of profit before tax and had net assets €0.2 million.
During the current financial year lastminute.de has continued to materially grow the sale of package holidays to German customers. It is anticipated that for the financial year to 31 December 2004 TTV for German customers will amount to over €60 million.
In addition to the lastminute.de name, the acquisition includes the ownership of the domain name lastminute.tv, which will be initially licensed to a small independent tv operation. ÊThis operation is not being acquired as part of this transaction. Ê
Application has been made to the UK Listing Authority and the London Stock Exchange for the new shares to be admitted to the Official List and to trading on the London Stock Exchange’s market for listed securities (“Admission”). ÊIt is expected that Admission will become effective from 8am on 2 July 2004 and dealings will commence at that time.
Commenting on the acquisition:
Brent Hoberman, Chief Executive of lastminute.com said:
“As Europe’s leading independent online travel and leisure group, lastminute.com needs to have a substantial presence in Germany, the largest single European travel market. ÊThis transaction removes the confusion between the .com and .de brands and ensures that all of our marketing efforts benefit the lastminute.com businesses in Germany. Ê
German consumers are now poised to realise the benefits of booking their travel and leisure activities online and we believe that the market in Germany is set for substantial growth over the next few years. ÊThe success of our holiday autos operations in the German market has shown us its true potential. ÊWe are now keen to build upon that base.”
Nicole Bernthaler, Managing Director of lastminute.com, Germany:
“We are delighted to unite our operations with the lastminute.de group in the German market. ÊWe strongly believe our customers will be attracted by the increased product offering online and our combined business strengths in the market provides a robust platform for future growth and profitability.”