Sunday, 20 May 2018

IAG boss says 'no hostile bid' on horizon for Norwegian

The boss of International Airline Group, Willie Walsh told the media last week that the deal to take over the rapidly growing low-cost airline Norwegian won't go hostile! Yet we've been told that staff are still working on a bid.

Norweigan recently confirmed that they have so far unanimously rejected two approaches from IAG, the owner of British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus because they seriously undervalued the company. Speaking at the CAPA-Centre for Aviation conference, Walsh doubted that he had got the value wrong, "We know what the value to us would be." he said, whilst also indicating that a hostile bid wouldn't be forthcoming, "This isn’t a deal I have to do. We have expressed an interest. If they don’t want to be bought by IAG, fine,” he told various media organisations, adding “I am not going to do anything hostile, that’s not my style.”

In a shrewd move, the Irish businessman knew that his comments, shared around a few reporters would have a negative impact on the Norwegian share price and thus make it cheaper for IAG to continue a slow buy up of shares at a cheaper price. Norwegian share price did indeed fall by at least 7 percent when news of IAG's supposedly disinterest in the company went public.

The airline boss indicated that it had been some weeks since his last contact with Norwegian and there were no meetings scheduled within the immediate future  “If we do something, we are responsible and would make the required announcements, but I am not expecting to have to do anything in the coming weeks or months,”.

The deal is not yet dead, despite the smokescreen evoked by Willy Walsh, senior staff in Harmondsworth have told us that work is still ongoing on the take-over of Norwegian. Indeed they indicate the timing for the next 'action' will be the week starting 4th June. That week had been chosen in order for Mr Walsh to report the major acquisition at the IAG annual general meeting, which is scheduled for the following week on the 19th.

IAG has also been engaged in a massive buyback of its own shares last week, which we're told would continue for some days.