David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue Airways, is putting together a USD$3.2 billion investment fund to buy back control of the company and purchase Portuguese airline TAP, Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo reported on Friday.
Neeleman, who currently owns Brazilian airline Azul, denied the plans, telling Folha "I always think about things we can do, but at this moment, I am focused on Azul. It is not true that I will buy TAP or JetBlue."According to the report, which did not identify its sources, Brazilian state development bank BNDES will contribute USD$600 million for a 20 percent stake in the fund, while Azul stakeholders will also participate. Neeleman himself will contribute 5 percent of the fund's total, the report added.A JetBlue spokesman said the company does not comment on rumours or speculation.Azul representatives denied the report, while a BNDES spokesman said the bank would not comment.Speculation about Neeleman buying back JetBlue goes back several years. He told CNNMoney in an interview in April 2011 that buying it back was "always an option," but was not a great investment at that time. Source: Reuters
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