Bondholders Withdraw Competing Bid For Virgin Australia

Credit: Virgin Australia

Private equity investor Bain Capital has a seemingly clear run to complete its acquisition of Virgin Australia after the withdrawal of a rival takeover proposal.

Virgin Australia’s administrators had already selected Bain as the preferred bidder for Virgin Australia, after considering a shortlist of competing bids. However, a group of bondholders put forward an alternative offer to recapitalize Virgin relatively late in the process.

The bondholders involved in the offer—Broad Peak Investment and Tor Investment—have now decided to abandon their effort. Bain said the withdrawal highlights that Broad Peak and Tor’s counterproposal was “incomplete and unable to progress.” Bain claimed that the bondholders’ withdrawal “was not unexpected.”

Virgin’s administrators, from Deloitte, are due to provide a detailed description of Bain’s bid to creditors on Aug. 25. This will also reveal the level of return to creditors, who will vote on the proposal Sept. 4.

The bondholders faced an uphill struggle to have their counter offer considered. The administrators stressed on Aug. 14 that only the Bain proposal would be presented for voting at the creditors meeting as they had already reached an initial agreement with Bain.

Bain said its offer “is in the best interests of all creditors.” The company urged creditors to support the proposal “in order to bring an end to this period of uncertainty and enable the [airline] rebuilding process to start as soon as possible.”

Virgin Australia entered voluntary administration in April after suffering from a liquidity crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Bain was selected as the preferred bidder in June. On Aug. 5, Virgin Australia and Bain revealed a plan to restructure the airline. The carrier will have a smaller fleet and workforce that will be better aligned to the post-COVID business environment.

Adrian Schofield

Adrian is a senior air transport editor for Aviation Week, based in New Zealand. He covers commercial aviation in the Asia-Pacific region.