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And Then There Were Two: Virgin Australia Final Bidders Revealed

Virgin Australia’s administrators have announced the final two bidders for the airline as the 12 June sale deadline approaches with Bain Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners revealed as the two potential buyers. But both include one favourite dish on the sushi train. Who or what could that be?

Virgin Australia’s administrators have announced the final two bidders for the airline as the 12 June sale deadline approaches with Bain Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners revealed as the two potential buyers. But both include one favourite dish on the sushi train. Who or what could that be?

Until now, you’ve perhaps never heard of Bain Capital or Cyrus Capital Partners as both are private investment companies that remain relatively faceless to the general public.

But, here’s the thing, New York-based Cyrus Capital Partners has links to British billionaire and Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson, with Branson’s Virgin Group already a 10% shareholder in Virgin Australia.

And… The Australian had previously reported that the other bidder Bain Capital would link up with Sir Richard’s Virgin Group if it made it to the final two. Which it now has.

See the theme here?

Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Blue
Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Blue

Cyrus Capital Partners was one of the original backers in Virgin America when Sir Richard Branson established the airline in 2004.

Speaking about the final two bidders for the troubled airline, Deloitte administrator Vaughan Strawbridge said;

“Both Bain Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners are well-funded, have deep aviation experience, and they see real value in the business and its future.”

Vaughan Strawbridge, Virgin Australia administrator, Deloitte

Boston-based Bain Capital is one of the world’s leading private investment firms, bringing in local aviation experience with the assistance of former Jetstar chief executive and American based in Australia, Jayne Hrdlicka.

The rumours are that if Bain Capital does take over Virgin Australia, Ms Hrdlicka could even replace Paul Scurrah as Virgin’s new CEO.

The final bids are due on June 12 with Mr Strawbridge saying it was still their intention to have a binding agreement in place by June 30.

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Before the company went into voluntary administration on April 21, Virgin Australia was bleeding cash, with some aviation experts warning it had until September to be rescued.

Some bidders were concerned that the company could run out of cash by the end of June with a recent report suggesting the Federal government would need to step in to make up the shortfall of funds needed to ensure a sustainable bid.

At the time of Virgin Australia entering into administration, Virgin Australia Group Chief Executive Officer, Paul Scurrah, had said their decision was about securing the future of the Virgin Australia Group and emerging on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis.

Karry On - Virgin Australia
Paul Scurrah, CEO Virgin Australia

“In 20 years, the Virgin Australia Group has earned its place as part of the fabric of Australia’s tourism industry. We employ more than 10,000 people and a further 6,000 indirectly, fly to 41 destinations including major cities and regional communities, have more than 10 million members of our Velocity loyalty program, and contribute around $11 billion to the Australian economy every year,” he said.

“Australia needs a second airline and we are determined to keep flying. Virgin Australia will play a vital role in getting the Australian economy back on its feet after the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring the country has access to competitive and high-quality air travel.”

Virgin Australia Group Chief Executive Officer, Paul Scurrah

READ: This Is Not The End For Virgin Australia. But What Happens Now?

As is stands, the long term fate of Virgin Australia’s workforce and what a newly owned airline will look like post-COVID-19 still remains unknown.

Regardless, one thing is for sure. You can bank on the Branson effect and a cheeky Virgin return when it comes to marketing the new look airline.