British Airways parent International Airlines Group (IAG) has bought a small stake in rival Norwegian with the view to making a full offer for the airline.
Following media speculation, IAG confirmed it has acquired a 4.61% ownership of Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (Norwegian).
Shares in Norwegian jumped by as much as 26% on news of a possible tie-up.
IAG, which also includes European carriers Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling and LEVEL in its group, issued a statement this morning which said: “IAG considers Norwegian to be an attractive investment and has acquired a 4.61 per cent ownership position in the airline.
“The minority investment is intended to establish a position from which to initiate discussions with Norwegian, including the possibility of a full offer for Norwegian.
“IAG confirms that no such discussions have taken place to date, that it has taken no decision to make an offer at this time and that there is no certainty that any such decision will be made.”
The group added that a further announcement will be made “if appropriate”.
Norwegian said: “Norwegian has just been made aware that the International Airline Group (IAG) has acquired of 4.6% of the shares in Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA.
“Norwegian had no prior knowledge of this acquisition before it was reported by the media mid-morning Thursday.
“Norwegian has not been in any discussions or dialogue with IAG about the matter.
“Norwegian believes that IAG’s interest in the company confirms the sustainability and potential of our business model and global growth. The company has no further comments at this stage.”
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