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Booking giant Expedia bids for Australia's Wotif.com

Online travel giant Expedia has launched a A$700 million (US$658 million) takeover bid for Australian hotel booking website Wotif.com, the companies said on Monday.

SYDNEY: Online travel giant Expedia has launched a A$700 million (US$658 million) takeover bid for Australian hotel booking website Wotif.com, the companies said on Monday.

Under the deal, Expedia Group will pay A$3.06 per share to acquire all of Wotif.com, as the US-based company widens its exposure to the fast-growing Asia-Pacific travel market.

Wotif shareholders will also receive a special dividend of 24 cents per share with the total $3.30 offer a 25 per cent premium to the last traded price.

Company founders Graeme Wood and Andrew Bice and the board have agreed to vote the 20.2 per cent of shares they control in favour of the proposal and recommended fellow stock holders do the same.

Wotif chairman Dick McIlwain said it was the best way to leverage Wotif's brand in the global travel market.

"As a board, we have carefully assessed the changing dynamics of the markets in which we operate, and the uncertainties and risks that we would face if we were to continue as an independent company," he said.

"With that in mind, we believe that shareholder value will be maximised and that Wotif Group will be best positioned for the future, through the proposed transaction."

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