Aimia sells half its stake in Cardlytics for $60 million in hunt for cash

MONTREAL — Aimia Inc. has sold roughly half of its investment in Cardlytics Inc. for about $59.8 million as the loyalty rewards company tries to accrue more cash for bolt-on acquisitions following the sale of its Aeroplan business.

The company announced Monday it sold 1.5 million shares for net proceeds of roughly US$44.9 million.

Aimia still has 1.478 million shares in Cardlytics which uses purchase data from financial institutions to help banks and marketers. The Atlanta-based Cardlytics, whose stock hit new highs topping US$34 this month, went public in February 2018 with an IPO price of US$13.

Aimia said it will continue to evaluate its remaining investment in Cardlytics against its strategy as a consolidator in the loyalty and travel business as it charts a post-Aeroplan course.

The deal comes as Aimia continues to quarrel with its largest shareholders.

The company filed a statement of claim last month against Mittleman Brothers LLC accusing the dissident investor of violating a contracted truce, the latest move in a battle over control of the company’s board of directors.

Aimia said Mittleman continued to push for change at the company throughout the truce and tried to orchestrate a covert campaign encouraging other shareholders to withhold their support for Aimia’s nominees at the 2019 annual meeting.

Those board members backed a strategy to buy up loyalty analytics firms with the windfall from the sale of Aimia’s flagship Aeroplan program to Air Canada earlier this year.

Chief executive Jeremy Rabe said earlier this month that the company is “in active discussions with a number of potential companies,” adding that it was too early to predict whether any would result in purchase deals.

Christopher Mittleman, Mittleman Brothers’ chief investment officer, has said the legal claims are baseless and the lawsuit is “appalling in its wastefulness and reprehensible for its falsities.”

Aimia’s assets include a 48.9 per cent stake in PLM, the loyalty program for Aeromexico — which threatened to cut ties with Aimia last month — and a 20 per cent share of AirAsia’s loyalty program, Think Big.

The company continues to face questions about its future, as its two main loyalty segments lost $74.9 million in core adjusted earnings last year, resulting in a net loss of $72 million.

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