AIR FRANCE-KLM, Europe’s largest airline by revenue, and Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines are working together to examine a bid for Virgin Atlantic, said various sources yesterday.
The consortium is trying to tempt Virgin into joining the Skyteam alliance, with Goldman Sachs rumoured to have been tapped as an adviser.
Virgin Atlantic responded to the speculation with a statement that said: “Virgin Atlantic is a strong, independent business with a good growth position at both London Heathrow and Gatwick so we are not surprised that there is interest in us.”
The company added that it could not comment any further at this stage.
Virgin founder Richard Branson holds a 51 per cent stake in the airline, while Singapore Airlines holds the remainder.
“As a matter of policy, we do not comment on industry rumours or speculation about potential airline partnership,” said a spokeswoman for Delta.
Air France-KLM was unavailable for comment.
Virgin Atlantic has long been the subject of takeover speculation, with the most recent rumours centering on a possible bid by Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways.
Prior to that Malaysian carrier Air Asia boss Tony Fernandes was believed to have been considering a bid, after Virgin hired Deutsche Bank to assess the aviation market.
City A.M. Reporter