Virgin Australia’s administrator Deloitte has shortlisted four “highly credentialled” bidders. One of which could end up being the new owners of Australia’s second major carrier.
ABC News confirmed today that the shortlist contains four bidders: Private investment firm Bain Capital, private equity firm BGH Capital, US aviation investor Indigo Partners and global investor Cyrus Capital Partners.
Cyrus Capital, which was previously invested alongside Richard Branson in Virgin America, was a surprise bidder.
The Deloitte administrators said in a statement they had shortlisted a “small number of well-funded parties with strong aviation credentials that are being invited into the next stage of the process”.
Deloitte did not comment on the shortlisted parties, due to confidentiality reasons, but said it would work “intensely” with the bidders over the next four weeks.
There was no hint that West Australian mining magnate, Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest of Fortescue Metal fame nor the Queensland Government made the final cut.
The good news is that the airline appears as though it will be saved, though what the redefined version will look like is still anyone’s guess.
All of the bidders that made the short-list are private equity companies looking to invest.
“We received more interest than anticipated from parties who are eager to be a part of the future of Virgin Australia,”
Vaughan Strawbridge, Deloitte administrator
“We are delighted by the strength of each of those on the shortlist, with parties selected being well-funded and possessing deep aviation experience.” He continued.
Virgin Australia went into administration on April 21, owing about $7 billion.
There had been about 20 interested parties, including a last-ditch bid by the Queensland government, but that list was culled at the end of last week.
The administrator said it wanted to get the best “commercial solution” possible while maximising the outcome for creditors as quickly as possible.
This would ensure the airline could “remain a competitive force in the market and begin more normal operations as soon as COVID-19 restrictions allow”, Mr Strawbridge said.
He said the parties would now need to share more detailed financial and operational information, and undergo management workshops and meeting with financiers, landlords, suppliers, unions and other stakeholders.
The final bids are now due on June 12.
We will be watching on as the story unfolds.
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