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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 11 a.m., Monday, August 13, 2001

Cheap Tickets sold to conglomerate

Advertiser Staff and News Services

Hotel, real estate and car rental giant Cendant Corp. agreed today to buy the Honolulu-based discount airfare company Cheap Tickets Inc. for $425 million in cash.

The purchase by the New York-based owner of Avis, Days Inn and Super 8 is the latest in a string of sales to global businesses of major Hawai'i companies.

Liberty House was sold to Cincinnati-based Federated Department Stores in June, and First Hawaiian Bank's parent was sold to BNP Paribas SA, France's largest bank, in May.

Cheap Tickets began in 1986 when the husband-wife team Michael J. and Sandra T. Hartley opened a shop in Honolulu. The company has grown to a nationwide operation employing 1,000 and with $800 million in bookings expected this year.

Recently it has hit a rough spot, reporting a 75 percent drop in second-quarter profit and saying it will close nine of its 10 travel stores.

Cendant agreed to pay $16.50 each for outstanding shares of Cheap Tickets, or 39 percent more than the closing price Friday.

Shares of Cheap Tickets rose 4.48, or 38 percent, to $16.33 in early afternoon trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Cendant's stock rose 42 cents to $19.62 on the New York Stock Exchange.