British Airways (BA) has disclosed that it has approached private equity firms with a view to making a takeover bid for Oneworld partner Iberia, in conjunction with Spanish partners.

The UK carrier already has a shareholding of around 10% in Iberia. It says it would not make any additional capital investment as part of an offer from a consortium. It has also opted not to make any independent bid for Iberia.

BA 777

In March Iberia indicated that it would be open to potential bidders. BA has been considering the future of its Iberia stake after the Spanish airline was approached by investors linked to the Texas Pacific Group.
“As part of this process [British Airways] has approached a number of private equity companies about making a consortium offer for Iberia,” says BA.

“Any consortium bid would not involve further capital investment by British Airways. As well as a private equity partner, this consortium is likely to include one or more Spanish partners.”

BA does not identify any of the parties with which it has been holding discussions, and adds: “BA has not made a final decision about the future of its shareholding in Iberia and continues to examine numerous options, including full disposal.”

Star Alliance carrier Lufthansa has also indicated potential interest in Iberia but has stated that the Spanish airline’s price is presently too high.

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