Richard Branson Abandons Plans to Sell Controlling Stake in Virgin Atlantic to Air France-KLM

By Anna Breuer on 3 December 2019
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Entrance to Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Wing

Sir Richard Branson said he has abandoned plans to cede control of Virgin Atlantic Airways to Air France-KLM Group and will retain a controlling interest in the airline he founded.

The change of heart was announced in a letter to employees of the airline on Monday.  Sir Richard said he will retain a 51% stake in the airline instead of selling 31%, as had been agreed upon in the deal with Air France-KLM.

The change is “subject to contract,” he said in his letter.

In 2017, Air France-KLM had announced it would acquire a 31% stake in Virgin Atlantic from parent Virgin Group just as Delta Air Lines and China Eastern each announced they would independently acquire a 10% stake in Air France-KLM Group.

Delta already owns 49% of Virgin Atlantic as well as 3.2% of China Eastern. The Atlanta-based carrier recently gained approval for a new trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM as well as with Virgin Atlantic.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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