Virgin, Lufthansa and BMI in three-way merger talks

If Lufthansa goes ahead with its plan to buy BMI, Virgin Atlantic will be interested in a tie-up, finanical newspaper City A.M. reports.“Virgin would be interested in linking up with Lufthansa if its deal with BMI goes through at the end of the year,” said the source, close to both Virgin and Lufthansa. It would ultimately be interested in a merger, with Branson keeping a 51% share.

The development comes as Singapore Airlines, which has a 49% stake in Virgin that it bought for £600m in 1999, said earlier this month it was reviewing its stake in the long-haul airline.

Analysts estimate Singapore Airlines’s stake in Virgin Atlantic could be worth £1bn. The source said: “A three-way tie up between Virgin, Lufthansa and BMI would give all three firms a bigger presence at Heathrow, as well as a beefed up short-haul and long-haul networks.”