Aviation

Virgin’s administrators still yet to name final two suitors following surprise bid

The administrators of Virgin Australia are still mulling over which two bidders will go through to the third and final stage, after receiving a surprise offer late last week.

Deloitte had initially planned to whittle the four shortlisted bidders – Bain Capital, BGH Capital, Indigo Partners, and Cyrus Capital Partners – down to two yesterday.

However, Brookfield – which was originally in the bidding race for Virgin, but pulled out over concerns about the process – surprised the administrators by putting forward an eleventh-hour bid on Friday, according to media reports.

The Canadian asset management group is understood to have met with Deloitte yesterday, with administrators set to provide an update later this afternoon, before binding offers are due by 12 June.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the offers made by the remaining suitors are roughly $4.5 billion to $5 billion. The Australian reported that Bain Capital has firmed as one of the final two bidders.

The Australian also reported that Deloitte has managed to find funding sources both inside and outside Virgin that will extend its cash reserves for at least a month beyond 30 June, which is when the administrators hope to complete the sale of the airline.

It’s understood that Virgin’s lack of cash reserves has been a particular cause for concern among the bidders.

Deloitte had not replied to Travel Weekly’s request for confirmation on any of these developments.

However, a statement issued by lead administrator Vaughan Strawbridge on Friday noted that all of the remaining parties “have a genuine interest in the future of Virgin Australia, and see real value in the business, despite the uncertainty about when travel restrictions will be lifted”.

“Since we short-listed groups two weeks ago, we have gone through an intense program of management briefings and stakeholder meetings to position the bidders for the proposals received today,” he said.

“Just this week, for example, we will have held close to 100 meetings with bidders and stakeholder groups, including unions and governments.”

Strawbridge also noted there was some speculation out there around the dollar value bidders might be placing on Virgin.

“This is just speculation, and we won’t know what that value might be until binding offers are required in mid-June,” he said.


Featured image: iStock/Andrew Hanlon

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