Air Canada announces hostile bid to buy back Aeroplan program

Jul 25 2018, 5:38 pm

After announcing its intention last year to cut ties with Aeroplan and begin its own loyalty rewards program in 2020, Air Canada now says it’s launching a bid to buy Aeroplan outright, for a cash purchase price of $250 million.

In a release on Wednesday, Air Canada announced that, in partnership with TD, CIBC, and Visa it has made a proposal to Aimia Inc. (Aeroplan’s parent company), “to acquire its Aeroplan loyalty business (including approximately $2 billion of Aeroplan points liability at March 31, 2018) for $250 million in cash (the “Proposed Transaction”), representing a total purchase price of approximately $2.25 billion.”

The transaction, if accepted, “will ensure value and continuity for their members as well as customers of Air Canada, TD, CIBC and Visa,” the company said in a release.

The move follows an announcement by Aeroplan last week that it was planning to launch its own charter flights once its partnership with Air Canada is over.

“Air Canada has heard from thousands of customers that, in addition to expecting a better loyalty program, they would prefer to transfer their Aeroplan Miles to the new loyalty program,” the company said. “We’re investing in this deal to deliver exactly that – if this bid to acquire Aeroplan is successful, customers’ Aeroplan Miles would transfer into the new loyalty program.”

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Air Canada said it has requested a “prompt response” from Aimia regarding the proposal, which has an expiry date of August 2, 2018.

The company also said the transaction would “result in a positive outcome for Aimia shareholders and Aeroplan members, allowing for a smooth transition of Aeroplan members’ points to Air Canada’s new loyalty program,” in time for its 2020 launch.

“Air Canada remains committed to delivering on our promise to build a new loyalty program that better reflects the way our customers live and travel,” the company said. “We’re on track to launch a new and more rewarding loyalty program in 2020.”

The company said its proposed new loyalty program would enable the company to take better care of its customers “by making decisions in real time that address specific needs.”

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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