HNA invests $27.5 million in a US-based OTA and abruptly closes it
HNA Group was majority shareholder of San Francisco-based OTA startup Travana, which is now subject of an involuntary bankruptcy petition filed by creditors last month in the city, reported Skift.
Petitioning creditors, including some former employees, are seeking to collect on claims of some USD 870,000 but there are other alleged liabilities, including USD 24 million for the nine years remaining of a USD 225,000 monthly lease at Travana’s now-vacated offices in San Francisco, according to the petition.
HNA Group pledged to invest not less than USD 50 million and up to USD 200 million to fund development of the company. But after less than a year, it unexpectedly put the brakes on, cutting all further funding after providing only approximately $27.5 million of the USD 50 million minimum it had contracted to provide, according to the petition filing.
Travana begins in late 2015, according to the petition, when it acquired the tech platform of Greece-based Airfasttickets, which had gone bankrupt after conducting a huge radio-marketing campaign in the U.S.
In August 2016, Travana announced its intent to launch a flight-and-hotel online travel agency based in San Francisco called Janbala.com.
In February 2017, Travana's HNA-appointed president and CFO, Shi Lei, met with HNA Group CEO Adam Tan and unilaterally announced that Travana would be restructured, according to the petition.
The bankruptcy court has scheduled a status hearing in San Francisco June 15.
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