IAG Reportedly Plans to Offer Norwegian a Third Acquisition Bid

May 21, 2018

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International Airlines Group reportedly isn’t done on its quest to acquire Norwegian Air Shuttle. After two denied bids at acquisition, IAG is reportedly making a third bid to acquire the low-cost carrier.

According to unnamed sources reported by Spanish newspaper Expansion, IAG plans to make a third offer of 1.52 billion euro (~$1.79 billion) to acquire Norwegian Air Shuttle. The proposed deal values Norwegian at 330 kroner, or just more than $40, per share — a premium of 32% compared to Norwegian’s previous share price.

Monday’s news of the proposed third offer comes just days after IAG, which also owns British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia, among others, said that it was not expecting to announce a deal to purchase Norwegian any time soon, and that it would not make a hostile bid, according to IAG CEO Willie Walsh.

A spokesperson for IAG declined to comment about the reported bid. However, the spokesperson did direct TPG to Walsh’s comments on Friday that IAG would not engage in a bidding war with Norwegian, and that the group was not expecting to make an announcement regarding Norwegian within “the coming weeks and months.”

A Norwegian spokesperson told TPG, “At Norwegian, our main priority remains building a strong, sustainable and global business to the benefit of our customers, employees and shareholders.”

In April, IAG announced that it had acquired a 4.61% stake in Norwegian Air. At the time, it was rumored that IAG was considering a complete takeover. However, earlier this month, Norwegian Air announced that its board had unanimously rejected two bid offers from IAG.

After IAG had taken its initial 4.61% stake, Bjørn Kjos, Norwegian’s CEO, said: “We are happy to have IAG as an investor. Needless to say, they are not the only interested party that has approached us.”

Even with Norwegian’s continued expansion across the globe, it has struggled financially. The carrier reported a net loss of €30.8 million in 2017, compared to a €116 million profit in 2016. The loss was driven by significant costs associated with hiring in its expansion, as well as rising fuel costs. It’s also struggling to uphold its fleet. Though it does operate new 787 Dreamliners and 737 MAX aircraft, the ongoing issues with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine have forced the carrier to lease aircraft from other operators while its Dreamliners undergo repair.

H/T: Financial Times

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