Bain Capital triumphs over PE competitors in bid to buy coronavirus-stricken Virgin Australia

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The battle to buy coronavirus-stricken airline Virgin Australia is over after Bain Capital won the bidding war to buy the business.

Bondholders of the struggling airline had made a last-ditch bid to keep the company out of the hands of private equity firms last week.

But the company’s administrator Deloitte confirmed Bain Capital has been successful in their bid, beating competition from a string of private equity houses including BGH Capital, airline investment specialist Indigo Partners and Cyrus Capital Partners.

Bain and Cyrus were going head to head in the final round of bidding, but the latter firm withdrew from the process earlier today citing a “lack of engagement” from administrators, the FT reported.

Australian media have reported that Bain Capital said it would restart Virgin Australia’s operations in September, with up to 6,000 of its 9,000 employees.

Virgin Australia entered voluntary administration in April owing almost A$7bn to creditors.

The company, which had failed to turn a profit for seven years, was finally pushed over the edge by the Covid-19 pandemic after failing to be granted a A$1.4bn loan it had requested from the government.

Bain Capital managing director Mike Murphy said, “Our investment and plan for the airline will support and celebrate Virgin Australia’s unique culture and protect as many jobs as possible for the short and medium term in a way that will make significant jobs growth possible.”

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