Friday, 06 December, 2019


British Airways owner IAG in line for Niki takeover, reports say

NIKI Airbus A320.
Rob Finlayson NIKI Airbus A320. Rob Finlayson
Bennie Garza | 29 December, 2017, 21:34

British Airways' parent company IAG looks to be closing in on purchasing Air Berlin's Austrian subsidiary Niki.

Besides IAG, the owner of British Airways and low-priced carrier Vueling, bidders for holiday airline Niki included tour operators TUI, Thomas Cook and former Formula One world champion Niki Lauda.

"IAG is the last remaining bidder and is still negotiating now", the person was quoted as saying by DPA.

However, Niki was abruptly forced to declare bankruptcy when Lufthansa recently withdrew its offer for the firm in the face of persistent resistance to the merger from European antitrust authorities. The price is expected to be around €40 million.

Administrator Lucas Floether did not mention IAG by name as the sole bidder, but Reuters and Austrian media quoted sources saying IAG became the exclusive bidder December 28 after NIKI founder Niki Lauder, Thomas Cook and SilverArrow Capital all dropped their bids.

Niki's administrator Lucas Floether has confirmed that creditors have agreed to begin "final talks" with an unnamed chosen bidder.

Tour operators Thomas Cook and Tui are also believed to have withdrawn from the race to buy Niki.

Die Presse also reported, without citing sources, that IAG was likely to be the last bidder. IAG has not commented on the speculation. TUI was not immediately available to comment.

Floether meanwhile noted that the new owner will have to pay Niki's running costs, including salaries for its roughly 1,000 employees in Austria and Germany, from the beginning of January.

Founded by former Formula One champion Niki Lauda in 2003, Niki was sold to Air Berlin Group in 2011.

It comes after Lufthansa ditched plans to buy Niki after the European Commission raised competition concerns over the deal earlier this month.

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