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26 Apr, 2020 14:45

Plan B? Branson reportedly mulls selling Virgin Atlantic as he waits for bailout

Plan B? Branson reportedly mulls selling Virgin Atlantic as he waits for bailout

Billionaire Richard Branson wants to find a buyer for Virgin Atlantic by the end of May as talks to save the airline from the coronavirus-spurred collapse have still not resulted in success, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

The troubled UK-based airline has reportedly hired investment bank Houlihan Lokey to secure the deal. The lender already has over a hundred potential bidders, with around half of them asking for more information about the offer.

According to the news outlet, hedge fund Lansdowne Partners, Singapore wealth fund Temasek and Northill Capital, as well as US based firms Centerbridge Partners and Cerberus Capital Management, have shown interest in the deal. 

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In contrast to the Sunday Telegraph’s claim that the £500 million lifeline for the troubled company was “effectively shelved,” other British media said that bailout talks with the UK government are still ongoing. The company could turn to the private sector to raise some cash as it considers all options due to the massive costs of the coronavirus crisis. 

As Covid-19 has hit the aviation sector hard, halting most travel, Branson whose Virgin group has a 51 percent stake in the UK-based carrier warned that it could go bust without financial aid. In order to persuade the UK government to greenlight a £500 million bailout request, the business magnate offered his private Caribbean island as collateral. However, the move has been seen as “PR posturing” by some, while others pointed that it’s ridiculous for him to ask for taxpayer money as he moved to the tax-free British Virgin Islands 14 years ago.

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