Final two bidders in race to buy Virgin Australia revealed

Virgin Australia ©AirTeamImages

Deloitte, who was appointed as administrator when Virgin Australia went into administration at the end of April this year have announced that it has narrowed down five prospective purchasers for the struggling carrier to a final two candidates.

Bain Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners, two “well-funded” U.S.-based private equity firms with “deep aviation experience” have been shortlisted according to Vaughan Strawbridge of Deloitte. “We will now spend the coming weeks facilitating in-depth bidder engagement with the stakeholders of the business and work closely with both preferred bidders in the lead up to binding final offers being received,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

Deloitte is keen to sell the airline by the end of June and the two final bidders will have until June 12 to submit final, binding bids. Bain Capital is being advised by former Jetstar chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka, while Cyrus Capital was involved with the launch of Virgin America with Richard Branson, according to Australia’s Courier Mail.

Prior to Virgin Australia going into administration it had laid off 1,000 members of staff and furloughed 8,000 others as a result of the dramatic drop in demand owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Virgin Australia had looked to the Australian government for an AU$1.4 billion loan to enable it to stay afloat, but the request was refused, predominantly because the parent company, Virgin Australia Holdings, had a majority of overseas owners, including Etihad Airways (20.94%), Singapore Airlines (20.09%), Nanshan Group (19.98%), HNA Group (19.82%) and Virgin Group (10.42%).

The carrier was nearly AU$7.0 billion in debt when it went into administration. 

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