Press: Air France and fund bid for Iberia

The investment fund Apax and Air France, allied with Spanish investors, are preparing a bid for Spanish carrier Iberia, the newspaper elEconomista reported Monday.
The paper, citing sources close to the matter, said the French-led alliance would unveil its offer by the end of the month, challenging an overture from the TPG investment fund and British Airways.

It said the new bid would value Iberia at around 3.81 billion euros (5.2 billion dollars), or four euros a share. The preliminary TPG bid, announced in March and later joined by British Airways, is worth 3.60 euros a share or 3.4 billion euros.

elEconomista said that in the next few weeks, Apax and investors Jose Manuel Lara and Juan Abello would come forward with an “initial purchase proposal, which Air France will then join as the industrial partner.”

The Iberia board of directors on Thursday said it would not provide TPG and British Airways with sensitive company information unless it made a firm offer for the airline.

Iberia, in which British Airways already has a 10 percent stake, said in March that it was open to a partnership with another carrier.