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Aimia focused on strategy, says CEO, despite legal fight with its largest shareholder

AIMIA logo (Associated Press)

Aimia Inc.’s (AIM.TO) chief executive said the company is focused on its post-Aeroplan strategy of acquiring new businesses, despite an ongoing legal battle with its largest shareholder.

CEO Jeremy Rabe said on a conference call Wednesday morning that Aimia will continue to pursue new business that compliments its existing platforms in the loyalty and travel space.

“There’s obviously some noise that people will read in the news, but to be honest with you I think people also understand that we have some good, solid synergies that can be harvested by putting some of these businesses together,” Rabe said.

“We continue to be focused on executing (merger and acquisition) strategy... We’re sticking very much to the criteria that we established from the outset.”

Aimia filed a statement of claim last month against Mittleman Brother LLC, which owns approximately 23.2 per cent of Aimia’s outstanding shares, claiming that the hedge fund repeatedly breached contractual and legal obligations following the sale of the Aeroplan program to Air Canada. Aimia says Mittleman pushed to merge the loyalty platform company with the hedge fund and attempted to interfere with the shareholder vote at its annual meeting.

Mittleman called Aimia’s accusations “false and baseless” and said it will “vigorously defend itself and hold the directors of the company personally accountable for their actions.”

In March, Aimia unveiled a strategic plan that would see the company grow earnings by maximizing its existing investments and deploying capital to buy up other loyalty programs in the larger industry. The plan was developed following the sale of its flagship Aeroplan program to Air Canada, which brought in about $500 million for the company.

“We’ve seen robust deal flow since we announced the strategy and we continue to see that. It’s allowed us to be selective in terms of the opportunities that we’ve looked at,” Rabe said. Although he would not go into detail about specific opportunities, he said the company is seeing “attractive potential opportunities.”

“We know a lot of these folks having worked with them in the industry for a number of years (that) know our reputation and how we do business. And so I think they're excited about the opportunity with Aimia.”

Aimia’s stock was down approximately 1.5 per cent as of 2 p.m. ET, trading at $3.28 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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