International Airlines Group (IAG) is to increase its stake in Spanish carrier Vueling to just over 90 per cent, following approval of a €123.5 million deal by shareholders.
IAG’s subsidiary Iberia had already owned 48.85 per cent of Vueling, and the group will now purchase 82.48 per cent of the remaining shares in the low-cost carrier, taking its total stake to 90.51 per cent.
The deal was accepted by a majority of Vueling shareholders, following recommendation by the Vueling board, and will see IAG pay €123.5 million for the remaining shares, at €9.25 per share.
Alex Cruz will remain as Vueling’s CEO, with the deal to be completed this Friday (April 26).
Announcing the move IAG’s CEO Willie Walsh said:
"Vueling is a great airline and will be a welcome addition to IAG where it will benefit from the group's financial strength. We plan to retain Vueling's current business model and management structure and its strong base in Barcelona".
IAG originally made an offer of €113 million for the remaining shares in Vueling in November 2012 (click here for more information), but this was rejected by the Vueling board.
Commenting on the acquisition, Vueling's chairman Josep Pique said:
“The public acquisition process has concluded with a significant number of Vueling shareholders deciding to sell their stake to IAG, following the recommendation of the Board of Directors that I chair on April 9.
"On that occasion, the Board considered that the price per share by IAG offered was fair. But more importantly, we said that the full integration of Vueling into the IAG structure offers significant strategic opportunities for future growth and development.
"Today I can only reiterate that view. I am convinced that Vueling will maintain the dynamism, innovative spirit and competitiveness that are the foundation of its success. Those attributes, along with a reinforced presence in IAG, will allow us to continue to grow and consolidate our position as a unique as a unique player in European commercial aviation”.
Vueling currently serves several routes from the UK (some seasonal), including Heathrow to La Coruna, Bilbao and most recently Florence (see online news December 6, 2012), Gatwick to Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Cardiff to Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga and Palma, and Edinburgh to Barcelona.
Report by Mark Caswell