TPG and BA could pull Iberia bid

The TPG-BA led consortium could pull its bid for Iberia, after recent stake-building by Caja Madrid, La Gaceta de los Negocios reported, without citing any sources.

This week, the savings bank built its Iberia stake to 23.4% by agreeing to buy the holdings in the carrier owned by other shareholders, BBVA and Logista.

Separately, El Economista reported that competing suitor Gala Capital is closing its financing with Citigroup and is pushing Caja Madrid and other Iberia core shareholder El Corte Ingles to team up with them in their offer.

The move would ensure the airline remains in Spanish hands.

TPG made a €3.60 per share indicative offer in July for Iberia, and has completed its due diligence period.

The Gala Capital consortium has approached the airline with a €3.60-3.90 bid, with the books expected to be opened to them in the short term.

TPG has always maintained that any tie-up with Iberia would be friendly, but Caja Madrid’s chairman Miguel Blesa has stated his intention of staying in Iberia, complicating TPG’s offer if the savings bank refuses to participate.

Analysts flagged that to some extent, BBVA and Logista’s stake disposals have obliged BA to put up or shut up, given that the UK airline, with 10% of Iberia, has the option on the stakes.

“BA has until Monday to say whether or not it will take up that option… the airline has insisted on various occasions that it has no plans to raise its stake in Iberia, so BA’s announcement will be really key to what happens next,” one industry source said.