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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lufthansa buys stake in Brussels Airlines holding

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - Germany's Lufthansa AG has moved to take over Brussels Airlines, purchasing a 45 percent stake in the holding company that owns the Belgian carrier for 65 million euros ($91.4 million), the companies said Monday.

The deal gives Lufthansa the option to take over all of Brussels Airlines in 2011 for a price not exceeding 250 million euros ($351.6 million).

In the first phase, Lufthansa will take a 45 percent stake in SN Airholding though a capital increase. The price for taking the remaining 55 percent in 2011 will depend on Brussels Airlines' performance within the ceiling set by Monday's deal.

The deal is dependent on regulator approval and support from Lufthansa's supervisory board and the shareholders and board of Brussels Airlines.

The German carrier, which also owns Swiss International Airlines, said it envisions Brussels Airlines continuing to operate largely independently after the deal.

Brussels Airlines started operating last year. It combined the budget Virgin Express airline with SN Brussels Airlines - the successor to former Belgian flag-carrier Sabena, which went bankrupt in 2001.

The news comes at a time when many airlines are having trouble - notably Italy's Alitalia, which was declared bankrupt Aug. 29 - and the industry is consolidating at a time of high fuel prices and global economic problems.

Last year Lufthansa carried 63 million passengers in it fleet of 513 aircraft. Brussels Airlines carried 5.8 million in its 49 planes.

Lufthansa employs 105,000 people, and Brussels Airlines employs 3,000.


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Thursday, July 03, 2008

British Airways Lands L'Avion

Small-sized airlines are dropping out of the skies as record oil prices take their toll, giving British Airways a choice opportunity to boost its own tiny transatlantic venture.

The British carrier said on Wednesday it had bought a two-plane airline from France, called L'Avion, for a total cost of $107.6 million. The small deal will bolster British Airways' OpenSkies subsidiary, which launched last month with only one plane; once regulatory authorities clear the purchase, the carrier will run three daily flights between Newark and Paris Orly.

Shares in British Airways fell 1.7%, to 204 pence ($4.06), during afternoon trading in London, in line with the sector.

"The driver behind this is that the long-term survival of L'Avion is doubtful," said Geoff van Klaveren, analyst with Exane BNP Paribas. The privately-held business-class airline is reportedly unprofitable, which would not be surprising given the record price of fuel and the decline in demand for air travel.

The chief executive of L'Avion, Marc Rochet, said that the financial health of L'Avion was excellent; he told that the airline's cash position prior to the buy-out was 33 million euros ($52.4 million). His airline certainly has met a better fate than some: British business-class carrier Silverjet collapsed into bankruptcy last month, sacking all 420 staff. American equivalents like MAXjet Airways and EOS had filed for bankruptcy before then. (See "No Silver Lining For Silverjet")

A spokesperson for British Airways said that its OpenSkies venture hoped to reach profitability within the first three years of operation, and that the new acquisition did not change the time-frame.

Although there are almost no airlines similar to L'Avion available to whet British Airways' appetite going forward, the difficult business environment will likely see more carriers collapse into the arms of larger rivals.

"It's certainly an example of consolidation in the European industry," said Douglas McNeill, analyst with Blue Oar Securities. "My view would be that there will lots more to come."


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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Aeroflot says interested in Austrian Airlines

Russian airline Aeroflot confirmed on Friday it could be interested in taking a stake in Austrian carrier Austrian Airlines.

"We are studying the situation at Austrian Airlines and are looking at what happens," Valery Okulov told Austrian magazine Format. "We have experience of overhauling airlines."

The Russian airline has previously said it is interested in buying European rivals.

"Okulov said yes, we are interested. But there are no practical consequences to that yet," Lev Koshlyakov, Aeroflot's deputy general director, told Reuters.

German airline Deutsche Lufthansa said last month it was also interested and Chief Executive Wolfgang Mayrhuber told Format an approach would depend on the owners of Austrian Airlines. The Austrian state holds a stake of some 43 percent.

"(Any move) must be friendly," he said. "It must make sense for both sides. But it's not our decision if talks are to take place with Austrian Airlines or not."

The magazine also quoted Air France Chief Executive Jean-Cyril Spinetta as saying he was "observing the situation" at Austrian Airlines. However, he added that Italy's Alitalia had priority for the French company.

On Monday, Spinetta did not rule out restarting talks over a possible takeover of Alitalia, but said they would be difficult. It was not clear when he had spoken to Format. No one at the magazine could immediately be reached for clarification.

Aeroflot and Air France have both been reported previously as potential suitors for the Austrian company.


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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bmi set for takeover by Lufthansa

German carrier Lufthansa is poised to take control of Bmi, the UK airline controlled by Sir Michael Bishop for the past 30 years, in a deal that could value the business at £500m-£600m.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Silverjet Says It's in Takeover Talks

Silverjet Plc, the unprofitable business-class airline that began flying from London to New York last year, said it's in talks about a possible takeover.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Alitalia accepts Air France offer

Troubled Italian carrier Alitalia has agreed to be bought by rival Air France for a cut-price 138m euros(£106m:$215m) in a move to save the state airline.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Air China raises price for rival

Air China has upped efforts to buy a stake in China Eastern Airlines, saying it will pay more than a rival offer.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

AirFrance-KLM buys Belgium's VLM

Aviation giant AirFrance-KLM is to buy out Belgium's VLM, a major regional airlines operating out of London City Airport, VLM said in a statement Monday.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Alitalia picks Air France for bid

Alitalia has picked Air France-KLM as its preferred bidder, clearing the way for takeover talks to pick up pace.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Alitalia on runway for takeover

Alitalia, Italy's nearly bankrupt flag carrier facing acquisition by Italian rival Air One or European giant Air France-KLM, has recorded losses in eight of the past 10 years.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

New Iberia takeover bid lifts off

Spanish airline Iberia has received a second takeover approach from a private equity-led consortium, valuing the business at about 3.7bn euros ($5.5bn).

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Aeroflot studies buying into Czech Airlines

Russia plans to buy into Czech Airlines (CSA), a Russian news agency quoted a government official as saying on Monday, while the flag carrier, Aeroflot, said it might consider the option.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Mexicana to fight Aeromexico takeover ban

Airline Mexicana plans to go to court to challenge a ruling by Mexico's competition watchdog that bans its $200 million takeover bid for rival Aeromexico.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Airlines cool on taking 62 percent Virgin Blue stake from Toll

TOLL Holdings' plans to offload its 62 per cent stake in Virgin Blue has so far received a lukewarm response, with Singapore Airlines already ruling itself out and Emirates playing down rumours it is interested in the domestic airline.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ryanair to Sue EU Over Aer Lingus Bid

Ryanair has declared it will sue EU regulators if their hostile takeover bid for Aer Lingus was blocked, claiming it is the victim of political bias. (page not found)

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lufthansa to completely take over its 'Swiss' unit as of July 1

Lufthansa has announced that it will own Swiss outright as of 1 July after securing all necessary traffic rights.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Heads to roll in the wake of Qantas sale fiasco

Qantas shareholders now regard the position of chairwoman Margaret Jackson and her fellow directors as untenable after the failed $11.1 billion takeover bid ended in humiliation yesterday.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Qantas board in emergency meeting

The consortium pursuing an $11.1 billion takeover of Qantas has said it will try to keep the deal alive after receiving a late acceptance from a major shareholder.

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Monday, April 30, 2007

Investors walk from Qantas bid

Qantas shareholders are deserting the $11.1 billion takeover bid, with acceptances for the $5.45 per share offer dropping from 27.8 per cent to 25.5 per cent.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

BA considers Iberia takeover move

British Airways is considering making a bid for the Spanish airline Iberia.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Jet Airways strikes Sahara deal

India's largest private airline, Jet Airways, has agreed to take over its domestic rival, Air Sahara for 14.5 billions rupees ($340m).

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Runway cleared for Qantas sale

Airline Partners Australia is today expected to lower the acceptances level it needs to gain control of Qantas.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Qantas bid gains altitude with debt deal

The banks behind Airline Partners Australia's $11 billion offer for Qantas have agreed to refinance the takeover bid so APA can take control of the airline without a 100 per cent buyout.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Shareholder appears to ground $11bn Qantas bid

A major stakeholder has rejected the $11 billion private equity-backed consortium bid for Qantas.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Costello clears Qantas sale

The Australian government has approved the $11 billion takeover of Qantas after its buyer guaranteed Australian jobs and regional routes.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

US Airways withdraws Delta Bid

US Airways has withdrawn its $9.8 billion takeover bid for Delta Air Lines after creditors endorsed Delta's plan to remain independent.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

US Airways raises bid for reluctant Delta by 20%

US Airways has raised its hostile takeover for rival carrier Delta by 20%, moving closer to a deal that would create the world's largest airline.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Government yet to decide on Qantas

Australia's acting Prime Minister Mark Vaile has said that no decision has been made on whether the Government will attach specific conditions to the $11 billion takeover bid for Qantas.

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