Private equity firm Blackstone over time has owned all or part of Hilton, Wyndham, Ramada, Howard Johnson, Super 8, and Orbitz among other brands. Now they’re apparently in talks to buy a stake in a frequent flyer program.
Jet Airways is under serious financial strain and any offer for a piece of their JetPrivilege program is contingent on the airline obtaining financing to ensure the viability of the airline.
Copyright: boarding1now / 123RF Stock Photo
JetPrivilege was spun off as a separate company in 2013, with Etihad investing $150 million for a 50.1% stake in the program. They invested 24% in the carrier, the most that was legally allowable, buy separating the frequent flyer program gave them additional control and a way of injecting additional capital into the airline. At the time Jet Airways JetPrivilege had about 2.5 million members.
While both Etihad and Jet Airways would retain stakes in the program after a deal with Blackstone it’s not clear the relative shares each party would give up. For Etihad even a partial sale would them out of their worldwide expansion, which they’ve retrenched from after losing their shirts in Alitalia and air berlin. For Jet Airways it would provide them desperately-needed cash.
Reportedly the deal would value the program at $429 – $569 million, which is 43% – 90% higher than in 2013. At the same time though membership in the program has grown 220% during that period so its value would be lower on a per-member basis.