Air India waits for its fate: Tata Sons, airline’s employees bid for stakes
December 14, 2020, marks the final day for submitting bids to acquire a stake in India’s national airline Air India. Reportedly, the company received two offers, one from Tata Sons and one from a group of the airline’s employees.
Tata Sons, the holding company of the $113 billion “salt-to-software” conglomerate, entered the bidding for Air India stake, multiple local reports suggest. The company reportedly submitted the Expression of Interest (EoI) slightly before the deadline ended. Tata Sons is believed to have entered the bidding through AirAsia India, its joint venture airline, where it holds a controlling stake (51%) of the air carrier.
In November 2020, Tata Sons tried to negotiate with Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY) (SIA) through their joint venture Vistara, offering the airline to rule out a non-compete clause and join the proposed bid for Air India. However, SIA denied taking part in the initial stages of the bid.
209 employees submit a bid for Air India stake
Meanwhile, a group of 209 airline’s employees also submitted the EoI for 51% of stake in the national Indian air carrier, reported local media on December 14, 2020. The employees aim to hold the controlling stake in the airline by stepping into a joint venture with the other investor, which would own the remaining 49% of shares, according to the Commercial Director at Air India Meenakshi Mallik.
As per bidding conditions, the employees would not be able to cooperate with any private company but would be allowed to set a partnership with a bank or any other financial institution.
Earlier in December 2020, the group of Air India’s employees counted that to reach the goal, in addition to financial support from the partner, each involved in the bidding would need to contribute up to Rs 1 lakh (approximately $1,400).
The government of India scheduled the deadline for submitting bids for Air India on December 14, 2020. The government initiated the sale of 100% of Air India’s equity share capital back in January 2020, setting an initial deadline in March 2020. However, the deadline for bidding was later extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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