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Travel.com.au Announces Last Minute Joint Venture Details

Australian travel site travel.com.au has released further details of its joint venture with lastminute.com, which will see the UK service introduced to Australia and New Zealand.

Three weeks ago (see story) the joint venture between the two online companies was announced, but terms of agreement were not specified.

New information shows that lastminute.com will provide the joint venture with technical support and access to its global travel database, and design and host the JV's Web site, in exchange for an initial 25.1 per cent share in the new company.

Lastminute.com also has an option to take a further 25 per cent of the joint venture, exerciseable for a three month period beginning 18 months after the new joint Web site is launched.

Travel.com.au, in return for a 74.9 per cent stake in the joint venture, will contribute its knowldege of the Australian and New Zealand markets, plus management and seed capital of AUS$3 million (US$1.8 million) for the start-up operation.

The joint venture will match lastminute's promise to match supply and demand at the last minute, with travel.com.au, a site which already provides a full range of travel products and services for business and leisure.

In the future, users will be able to access airline tickets, hotel rooms, package holidays, entertainment tickets, restaurant reservations and gifts through the shared site and book with little notice or difficulty.

Travel.com.au CEO David Tonkin said lastminute.com would offer products and services and short notice, "enabling customers to make spur-of-the-moment decisions about how to spend their time and money".

Mr Tonkin said the merger with lastminute.com was a "natural fit" for the Australian travel company.

"It [the merger] is an aspect of e-commerce that we believe the online consumer has been eagerly awaiting in Australia and New Zealand," he said.