Virgin Australia’s administrator Deloitte has selected Bain capital and Richard Branson’s owned Cyrus Capital Partners as the last two companies in the race to buy the collapsed airline. Virgin Australia was Australia’s second-largest airline until it filed for voluntary administration in April and has been looking for possible buyers ever since.
The selection of these two companies is a reduction from the previous possible bidders, which included the Canadian firm Brookfield Asset Management, Indigo partners, and the Melbourne-headquartered BGH capital. Despite not being selected, the latter had already revealed some of its plans regarding the future of the airline, which included a reduction of aircraft to just 15 Boeing 737s to start with.
A Virgin Australia 737-800 departing Auckland International Airport. Photo by Ernest Leung | AeroNewsX
According to one of Deloitte’s lead administrators, both selected companies are well funded, with deep aviation experience and saw real value in the business and its future. However, both companies have very different plans regarding the future of the carrier. While Cyrus would maintain Virgin Australia as an international full-service airline, Bain would convert the company into a hybrid somewhere between Qantas’ and Jetstar’s products.
The outcome of the selection has also quite unexpected, with BGH having circled the airline for a long time and sources close to the company stating that the exclusion has come as a surprise. Additionally, previous reports had suggested that Cyrus capital was the company that had the least chances of going through. On an extra note, it is worth mentioning that Richard Branson, owner of Cyrus capital, was also one of the co-founders of Virgin Australia when the company started with the name of Virgin Blue.