Singapore Airlines Limited (SGX:C6L) said that it is planning to sell its 49% stake in billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited, according to media reports. The remaining 51% belongs to Branson’s Virgin Group. Among the reported potential purchasers, Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) is the leading candidate.
Singapore Airlines purchased its stake in 2000 for GBP 600 million, and has been trying to divest itself of Virgin Atlantic off and on for some five years now. So for Singapore Airlines, this a chance to sell what it has long considered an under-performing investment.
For Delta, the second-largest U.S. Airline, this is an opportunity to gain more access to hard-to-get landing rights and space at London’s Heathrow International and increased access to European and Asian markets.
Even if these reports are true, there is no guarantee of a deal. This is not Delta’s first pass at Virgin.