The Travel Trust Association has contacted Worldchoice shareholders with a share offer that could scupper the consortium’s current merger plans with the Global Travel Group.
The TTA sent a letter to 150 Worldchoice shareholders on Thursday (November 22) offering to value each of their company shares at £2, with an additional payment of £1 based on criteria yet to be agreed, potentially based on preference shares or a loyalty bonus.
Under the Global deal, Worldchoice shares have been valued and a bid premium added. It is believed the shares have been valued at less than the £2 offered by the TTA.
The TTA has now invited Worldchoice members to express an interest, in principle, to the deal.
The offer comes as Worldchoice and Global are on the verge of entering the legal merger process, with completion expected by the new year.
The offer is conditional on receiving a sufficient number of confirmation letters from shareholders by January 18, 2008, which “if acted upon in the context of accepting a formal offer, would give TTA day to day control of the affairs of the company,” said the letter.
TTA director Todd Carpenter described the offer as “no different to the structure” currently pursued by Worldchoice and Global.
He has contacted Worldchoice chairman Colin Heal and is waiting for the consortium’s board to discuss the offer.
If necessary, the TTA would seek third party funding to acquire Worldchoice shares.
“We are looking at giving shareholders value for what they do. We see a lot of value in Worldchoice as an organisation, the membership and as a brand. What matters is what we would bring to the party – our relationship with merchant acquirers, financial protection, and dynamic packaging at discounted rates,” Carpenter said.
“We don’t want to be a tour operator. We don’t want to tell members, you have to sell our product, this is not what we are about. When you get down to brass tacks, I don’t think these guys want to run multiple shops and a vertically integrated tour operation – they want to run their own businesses.”
Carpenter added: “The bottom line is there has to be some consolidation and we are hoping we can be the architect of some of it.”
Worldchoice was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.
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