Aimia to Exchange Minority Position in BigLife for Stock in AirAsia

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(24 Mar 2021)
AirAsia Group Berhad has signed a memorandum of
understanding with Aimia Holdings UK II Limited for the proposed
acquisition by AirAsia of the remaining 1,665,000 ordinary shares
in BigLife Sdn Bhd which are not already held by the group.

The sale, representing 20% equity interest in
BigLife to AirAsia Digital Sdn Bhd (AirAsia Digital), a wholly
owned subsidiary of AirAsia, will be satisfied via the issuance of
85.86 million shares or an additional 2.2% stake in AirAsia,
taking Aimia’s ownership to an approximate 3.1% equity stake in
AirAsia upon completion of the transaction from the current 0.93%
following Aimia’s participation in the second tranche of AirAsia’s
private placement recently.

The transaction is expected to
be completed before the end of May 2021.

AirAsia Airbus A320 reg: HS-ABT with King Power Duty Free livery. Picture by Steven Howard of Click to enlarge.

Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia Group, said, “Data
and loyalty are two key ingredients for success in this digital
era. We value the partnership with Aimia and this is a logical
transaction that will deliver numerous benefits to both parties.
As a reputable global institutional investor that has recently
come on board through our private share placement, we are thrilled
with Aimia’s decision to strengthen their position in AirAsia,
giving us further confidence in our turnaround strategy
post-pandemic, continuing with our digital pivot and solidifying
our data-driven businesses.

“BigLife, that started out as a standard airline
rewards programme has now expanded to offer a much broader digital
currency for consumers to earn and redeem BIG Points across a
strong ecosystem of synergistic travel and lifestyle products,
beyond the airasia super app platform. BigLife’s BIG Rewards is
already one of ASEAN’s largest lifestyle rewards platforms with
over 25 million members. As we continue to diversify and offer an
even larger range of products and services leveraging our travel
and lifestyle ecosystem via the airasia super app, BigLife is on
track to become the most beneficial loyalty currency in the

“With full ownership of BigLife, we will have more
flexibility to drive innovation and growth to become ASEAN’s
number one redemption platform, including our points exchange
programme – BIG Xchange, that allows members to convert banking
and other loyalty points immediately as a universal exchange hub
for two way conversion between loyalty points.”

Aimia Inc. is a holding company with a
market cap of C$431m with a focus on long-term investments in
public and private companies, on a global basis, through
controlling or minority stakes. The company operates an investment
advisory business through its wholly-owned subsidiary Mittleman
Investment Management, LLC, and owns a diversified portfolio of
investments including a 48.9% equity stake in PLM
Premier, S.A.P.I. de C.V. (PLM), owner and operator of Club
Premier, the coalition loyalty program in Mexico that operates the Aeromexico Frequent Flyer programme, a 48.9% equity stake in
Kognitiv, a B2B technology growth company enabling collaborative
commerce, a 20.0% equity stake in BigLife, a
10.85% stake in Clear Media Limited (100.HK) alongside Ever
Harmonic Global Limited which comprises a consortium of investors
such as Antfin Hong Kong (controlled by Ant Financial), JCDecaux,
China Wealth Growth Fund III and Han Zi Jing the CEO of Clear
Media. Clear Media Limited is one of the largest outdoor
advertising firms in China. Aimia also holds minority stakes in a
portfolio of public company securities.

Aimia’s CEO, Phil Mittleman, said, “We are
excited for this new chapter in our partnership with AirAsia, a
leading low-cost carrier across Southeast Asia and owner of a
portfolio of valuable digital assets. By exchanging our minority
position in BigLife for publicly traded stock in AirAsia, we will
participate in what we believe will be significant upside in
AirAsia’s equity, with the added benefit of liquidity. We fully
support the airline’s recent efforts to strengthen its financial
position and pursue its digital transformation, and we believe
that AirAsia will emerge from the pandemic as a stronger airline,
uniquely positioned to capitalize on the sizable pent-up demand
that we believe exists for low-cost air travel across Southeast
Asia and beyond.”

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