IAG Considering Making Offer For Norwegian Air

Posted April 13, 2018

Seasoned deal-maker Walsh was much quicker than rival full-service airlines Air France-KLM and Lufthansa to embrace budget flying, buying short-haul carrier Vueling in 2015 and setting up IAG's own long-haul low-priced carrier Level past year.

'IAG confirms that no such discussions have taken place to date, that it has taken no decision to make an offer at this time and that there is no certainty that any such decision will be made, ' a spokesperson added.

Shares in the struggling budget airline jumped 37pc following initial reports of IAG's approach, with the company now valued at $1.22bn (€1bn).

For its part, Norwegian noted that "had no prior knowledge" of acquisition of 4.6% of its capital by IAG, before it communicates today mid-morning this purchase to regulator.

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'Norwegian believes that interest from one of the largest worldwide aviation groups demonstrates the sustainability and potential of our business model and global growth, ' it said.

A trailblazer of low-priced long-haul flying in Europe, Norwegian has been leading the charge to eat into the trans-Atlantic market where traditional full-service carriers like British Airways have historically made most of their profits.

Some of its most popular deals have included £69 flights to New York, Providence and Hartford in the United States, though it's cheapest at the moment is around £120. It added Aer Lingus and the Spanish budget airline Vueling to its portfolio in 2015. In fact, IAG launched Level in June of past year to face Norwegian airline in market for low-priced long-radio flights.

Norwegian shares rose by 40% in early trading upon the news.

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Norwegian shares took off on the Oslo Stock Exchange after the announcement, rising 20.8%.

The buy-up caught Norwegian by surprise.

The IAG movement has been a surprise to market considering that Norwegian competes directly with both Level and Vueling, both brands of British group.

Other legacy European airlines, along with the worldwide USA carriers Delta and American, have responded to the burgeoning low-priced transatlantic competition by offering no-frills, basic economy fares.

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