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Tourism Holdings asset sale off; suitor failed to lower cost

Tourism Holdings won't sell any of its New Zealand businesses after the potential suitor walked away when the Kiwi firm wouldn't budge on price.

The rental campervan operator won't sell its Kiwi Experience unit and the Black Water Rafting, Ruakuri and the Waitomo Homestead from its Discover Waitomo division after the parties couldn't agree to a price in the final stages of negotiation.

"The prospective purchaser for these businesses has decided not to proceed, seeking to reduce the purchase price," chair Rob Campbell said in a statement. "THL has remained clear in its view of the value of the tourism businesses; strategically, economically and socially."

Tourism Holdings pursued the sale as it seeks to cement itself as an RV-centric global company. That's involved extending an investment in the TH2 joint venture with recreational vehicle maker Thor Industries to develop a single platform to connect a wide range of services in the growing markets for RVs here, in Australia and in the US.

Campbell told shareholders in October that proceeds from the asset sale would be used to pursue those long-term goals, but he said the firm wouldn't sell for less than what they valued the assets at.

Today, he reiterated that Tourism Holdings has received offers for the New Zealand businesses for many years, and will only consider any interest if it's right for the wider company.

"The focus now is to ensure there are no distractions for anyone, including our customers, as we head into the current high season under THL ownership," he said.

Tourism Holdings shares rose 0.4 percent to $4.95, matching the wider gain on the NZX 50 this morning.

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