Shareholders object as flybe agrees discount sale to Virgin Atlantic-led consortium

A group of shareholders led by investment group Hosking Partners is looking to derail Exeter, U.K.-based flybe’s intention to sell to the Virgin Atlantic-led consortium Connect Airways at what is seen to be a heavily discounted price of one pence (13 cents) per share. Hosking partners is looking to oust flybe Chairman Simon Laffin with industry veteran Eric Kohn who told the BBC this morning: “I have been tasking to look at what went wrong over the last year especially and investigate what looks like a very unusual transaction.” He claimed that the investment bank advising Flybe turned away other potential investors. “My job is to investigate whether this company is in the dire straits they say it is, how it got there and whether this transaction is the only one that is available,” adding that he had the support of 40% of flybe shareholders.

Company chief executive Christine Ourmières-Widener has stood firm on her “difficult decision”. This morning (Tuesday) she told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “The deal we signed with Connect Airways is the only one that will secure our future. The only thing I can say is that by taking this decision we’ve saved 2,500 jobs and 1,400 pensions. In addition to that we are providing vital infrastructure to the UK and will do so in the future.”

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