Lastminute hikes float price and announces Australian joint venture

– Lastminute.com, the last-minute e-commerce gift and travel website, has hiked the price range for its stock market flotation by 67 percent on the back of strong demand.

– Lastminute.com, the last-minute e-commerce gift and travel website, has hiked the price range for its stock market flotation by 67 percent on the back of strong demand.

The price range rises from an initial range of 190p to 230p to a new range of 320p to 380p. This values Lastminute at £570m, making it one of the UK's biggest internet stocks.

Lastminute has been the most eagerly awaited of the UK's internet flotations to date and is heavily oversubscribed. Retail investors must reconfirm their interest at the higher offer price by e-mail or miss out.

In time for its flotation Lastminute has announced a deal with Australian online travel site, Travel.com.au, to establish a joint venture Lastminute.com service covering Australia and New Zealand.

The joint venture hopes to replicate the success of lastminute.com in the UK and Europe. Under the agreement, travel.com.au will contribute capital in return for equity in the company. lastminute.com will provide services such as design, website hosting and technical support for a period of time in return for equity in the company.

In addition, travel.com.au will provide management for the start-up operation.

Brent Hoberman, co-founder and chief executive officer of lastminute.com, said: "Our joint venture with travel.com.au is the next step in our global strategy. We believe that our expertise combined with travel.com.au's reputation with Australian and New Zealander customers will enable us to create a joint venture with the potential to take a lead position in this growing market. Together, we are looking forward to growing the lastminute.com brand and developing a service in a market which we believe is internet-savvy."



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