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easyJet founder ties up another airline deal.

EASYJET founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has entered a tie-up deal which could see his new brand used on a proposed no-frills airline in Africa.

Sir Stelios's company easyGroup will offer branding advice to investment firm Rubicon to help it explore the feasibility of launching the low-cost airline, which if accepted would see it take on exclusive rights to the brand.

EasyGroup, in exchange for its assistance, will take a 5% stake in Rubicon, with an option to increase its stake to 10%, and will also earn a royalty fee for 10 years for the use of the brand. The proposals are subject to shareholder approval.

Rubicon chairman Robert Burnham said: "We are very pleased to have secured the management team of easyGroup to advise us on our proposed strategy of building a world-class aviation company with a focus on the significant potential in Africa."

In a statement, Rubicon said easy-Group would provide advice on the feasibility of implementing a low-cost, point-to-point, no-frills business model for travel within Africa.

In September, Sir Stelios wrote to easyJet, in which he and his family hold a 37% stake, to inform the carrier that he intended to form a new airline as the ongoing spat between the two worsened.

At the time it was thought that the venture might compete with easyJet but yesterday's announcement has put an end to that speculation for now. In a statement, Sir Stelios alleged that easyJet breached the terms of a "comfort letter" dated October last year - making it null and void. EasyJet said it emphatically rejected the claims.

The comfort letter included a clause which prevented Sir Stelios from speaking negatively about the airline, while also preventing him from either setting up a rival airline or becoming a significant holder in another carrier.


COME FLY WITH ME Stelios Haji-Ioannou could see his brand on an African airline
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:60AFR
Date:Dec 6, 2011
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