AirAsia, Zest sign ‘dream alliance’
Share-swap deal to give Malaysian firm 49% of Yao’s airline
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joined forces in a “dream merger” that will take on bigger rivals that dominate the country’s air travel industry.
AirAsia Philippines and Zest Airways formally announced Monday a strategic alliance that would involve the integration of operations of both airlines. The two brands, however, will continue to operate as separate entities.
“This gives us the critical mass to build something special,” Malaysian businessman and AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes said in a speech following the announcement.
Under the strategic alliance, the two groups agreed to a share swap with AirAsia Philippines getting a 49-percent stake in Zest Airways. In exchange, Yao will get a 15-percent interest in AirAsia Philippines.
Yao’s stake will come from AirAsia Philippines’ existing Filipino shareholders, namely, the company’s CEO Marianne Hontiveros, vice chair Michael Romero and chair Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco. Each of the original shareholders will give up 5 percent of their current 20 percent to Yao.
Once the transaction has been completed, all four Filipino shareholders will own 15 percent of AirAsia Philippines, while the remaining 40 percent will stay with Malaysia’s AirAsia Berhad.
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