Apax revives Air France dialogue

Apax Partners is believed to have renewed discussions with Air France in support of its intended bid for Spanish airline Iberia.

There is currently just one indicative offer for Iberia from a consortium comprising US private equity firm TPG Capital and British Airways, valuing the business at €3.4bn.

However, global private equity firm Apax Partners has long been mooted as a possible rival bidder, although the firm is understood to be unwilling to enter into a bidding war. A tie-up with Air France was previously reported in May, as were potential partnerships with KLM and Lufthansa. Air France has more recently been considered as another partner in the TPG/BA consortium.

Reports in the Spanish press today have also revived reports of interest from Spanish investment vehicle Torreal and the Lara family, through its Inversiones Hemisferio company.

Apax already has an interest in the Spanish airline sector through its minority stake in Vueling Airlines, although recent reports suggest that it is intends to divest its holding before making a play for Iberia.

Adam Durchslag