Aeroplan-owner Aimia selling Nectar loyalty program for $105M to U.K.'s Sainsbury

Aimia Inc. said Thursday it has sold its Nectar loyalty program to U.K. supermarket group J Sainsbury PLC for approximately $105 million.

Aimia shares slide in wake of deal

Montreal-based Aimia said selling Nectar will allow it to focus on the Aeroplan program ahead of the departure of partner Air Canada, which has said it will launch its own loyalty program in 2020. (Air Canada/CBC)

Aimia Inc. said Thursday it has sold its Nectar loyalty program to U.K. supermarket group J Sainsbury PLC for approximately $105 million.

Sainsbury has been part of the Nectar program since it launched in 2002, and has businesses covering the grocery, financial services, energy, clothing, and general merchandise sectors. The U.K. firm is also Nectar's largest issuance and redemption partner.

Montreal-based Aimia said selling Nectar will allow it to focus on the Aeroplan program ahead of the departure of partner Air Canada, which has said it will launch its own loyalty program in 2020.

​"The transaction allows for a sharper focus on Aeroplan, our largest and most profitable business, and simplifies our operations all the while preserving a robust balance sheet for our ongoing business," David Johnston, Aimia's group chief executive, said in a release.

Aimia shares came under selling pressure in the wake of the sale's announcement. The stock closed down 93 cents at $2.78 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Aimia is scheduled to report its fourth-quarter earnings on February 14.