Helloworld Back In Merger Talks With AOT Group

Travel retailer Helloworld is once again talking with AOT Group about a potential merger just a couple of months after derisively pulling out of earlier negotiations.

Helloworld was this morning forced to put out a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange after this story appeared in today’s Financial Review.

“HLO confirms that it has recommenced discussions with AOT regarding a potential merger transaction,” the statement said.

“The evaluation of any merger is still in progress and there is no certainty that these discussions will lead to any transaction.”

In September Helloworld rejected a merger with AOT Group, saying “the strategic and financial merits of the acquisition were insufficiently compelling.

“The terms of the transaction would have resulted in the vendors of AOT becoming significant minority shareholders in HLO.”

Whatever the outcome of these latest talks, AOT Group, Australia’s dominant inbound operator, is definitely in play.

It is working with broker Ord Minnett and also considering a potential public listing.

AOT’s managing Director Andrew Burnes already owns more than 10% of Helloworld.

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