Aimia now in talks with Air Canada rival Oneworld
Oneworld's British Airways

Aimia now in talks with Air Canada rival Oneworld

MONTREAL — Aimia Inc. has confirmed that it’s in talks with the Oneworld airline alliance to be a potential partner for its Aeroplan program, the same day that an Air Canada-led takeover offer is set to expire.

Oneworld, whose members include British Airways, American Airlines and Cathay Pacific, has offered to pay Montreal-based Aimia $250 million and assume about $2 billion in liabilities, making its offer worth about $2.25 billion.

Aimia declined to elaborate on its strategic talks and referred further inquiries to Oneworld, a direct rival to the Star alliance that includes Air Canada as a member.

Air Canada said last week that Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Visa Canada wants to buy the Aeroplan loyalty business to allow customers to transfer their points to its own platform in 2020.

Under the proposal, a corporation to be formed by the consortium would acquire Aimia’s loyalty business, including roughly $2 billion worth of Aeroplan points obligations as of March 31, 2018, for $250 million in cash.

The group said the offer would expire Aug. 2 but such deadlines are often amended.

Some analysts have said the Air Canada group would need to increase its offer but the airline said last week that it is offering a substantial premium.

The future of Aeroplan, which has more than five million members, has been in doubt since Air Canada announced in May 2017 that it planned to launch its own loyalty rewards plan in 2020.

Aimia’s 30-year-partnership with Air Canada is due to expire in July 2020.

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