Australia's Wotif Bids $44 Million for Travel.com

Australian accommodation Website firm Wotif.com Holdings said on Monday it planned to make a takeover offer for online travel agency Travel.com.au, topping a rival bid.

Wotif.com said in a statement it would offer 50 cents cash or a scrip alternative of between 0.0893 and 0.1042 of its own shares for each Travel.com share. The cash offer values Travel.com.au at A$49.8 million (US$44 million).

That is higher than a A$42.3 million offer for Travel.com.au from online travel company Webjet last month.

Travel.com.au management had recommended the Webjet offer, in the absence of a superior bid emerging. This sent Travel.com.au's shares surging.

On Monday, Wotif.com said its offer was superior to Webjet's.

"Our offer provides a higher price but also gives Travel.com.au shareholders full flexibility to accept either 100 percent cash for their shares or to retain a shareholding in the combined group," the company said in a statement.

It said the takeover would generate attractive cost savings and would boost earnings for the 2009 financial year, the first full year after the acquisition.

Wotif.com offers last-minute accommodation deals in 40 countries, according to its website, while Travel.com.au offers flights, accommodation and travel packages.