Published on Wednesday, June 3, 2020

US firms face off as final two bidders for Virgin Australia

The battle for ownership of Virgin Australia is now a dogfight between two US-based private equity firms.

Virgin Australia's administrators announced the final-two shortlist with Bain Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners making the cut.

That marks an exit for Australia's BGH Capital and low-cost airline investment firm Indigo Partners.

Both Bain and Cyrus have previous links with Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson.

"Both Bain Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners are well-funded, have deep aviation experience, and they see real value in the business and its future," said Deloitte administrator Vaughan Strawbridge.

"We will now spend the coming weeks facilitating in-depth bidder engagement with the stakeholders of the business and work closely with both preferred bidders."

Strawbridge said he hopes a binding agreement to take over Virgin will be ready by the end of June.

Branson's Virgin Group has spoken to both bidders and could inject some cash into Virgin 2.0.

Virgin still receives a royalty fee of $15 million a year for the use of the Virgin brand name.

The Queensland Government may also align with the winning bidder and invest some money in order to guarantee the airline remains based in Brisbane.

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