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Jet Airways stake sale: Tata Group likely to make yet another bid for grounded airline via bankruptcy courts

After the Tata Group had tried to acquire majority stake in the  now shut down Jet Airways last year, the salt-to-software company may make yet another bid to buy the embattled airline, said media reports.

The Tata group may make a bid to acquire the Naresh Goyal-founded airline if the consortium of lenders to the grounded airline fails to get a buyer and takes the carrier to bankruptcy courts, reported Mint, quoting two people aware of the development.

 Jet Airways stake sale: Tata Group likely to make yet another bid for grounded airline via bankruptcy courts

Representational image. Reuters

“If the ongoing sale process does not succeed, then there is a high possibility that the lenders will take the airline to bankruptcy," the report said quoting the first person. “The Tatas have explicitly told Jet Airways’ lenders that they will explore a deal once again only if it is available via the bankruptcy courts."

In November last year, the Tata Group had made a bid to buy controlling stake in Jet Airways, but wanted the exit of the airline's then existing promoters, the Naresh Goyal family. Besides this, the Tatas had rejected a proposal for part-ownership and joint control of the airline, said a report in The Economic Times.

Jet Airways representatives had offered the Tata Group 26 percent stake and some board-level positions, including vice-chairmanship in the airline, said the report.

After it had expressed its interest to buy a stake in Jet Airways, the board of  Tata Sons had cautioned the management against rushing into any deal with the cash-strapped airline keeping in view the airline’s liabilities, according to a report in The Economic Times.

In November last year, media reports suggested that the parent company of Vistara, Tata-Singapore Airlines, was looking at all-stock merger with Jet Airways as part of the Tata Group's plans to board Goyal's full-service carrier, reported PTI.

At that time, Goyal, who along with his family owned 51 percent stake in the carrier, while Gulf carrier Etihad Airways held 24 percent stake in the cash-strapped airline.

In an exchange filing, Jet Airways described the media reports as speculative.

"...the subject news is speculative in nature and that there is no discussion or decision in the board which would require a disclosure...," the airline informed BSE.

After flying for over 25 years, Jet Airways on 17 April announced the temporary grounding of its operations after its lenders declined an interim funding of Rs 400-crore.

The airline owes more than Rs 8,500 crore to banks and around Rs 4,000 crore to its vendors and aircraft lessors and months of salaries to the employees apart from thousands of crores of rupees in ticket refunds to passengers. That apart it has an accumulate loss of over Rs 13,000 crore

A consortium of banks led by State Bank of India (SBI) had said they were hopeful of a successful bidding process for stake sale in the airline

The 26 lenders to the cash strapped airline, now own 51 percent stake in the airline, have invited bids from potential suitors and received four bids from Etihad Airways, NIFF, TPG and Indigo Partners and expect to close the deal by 10 May.

With PTI inputs

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Updated Date: Apr 22, 2019 15:06:31 IST