Scandinavian airline Norwegian has finally been given the green light for its proposed takeover of regional carrier Widerøe.
The Norwegian Competition Authority, a government agency, confirmed on December 21, 2023, that it had approved Norwegian’s acquisition of Widerøe.
In November 2023, the Competition Authority had threatened to block the merger on the basis that it would “significantly weaken competition in the market”.
However, after receiving responses from both Norwegian and Widerøe, the agency concluded that there were “insufficient grounds to stop the acquisition”.
Tina Søreide, Director of the Norwegian Competition Authority, said: “It has been necessary to make a thorough assessment of the acquisition. We have now concluded that this acquisition will not significantly hinder effective competition in the Norwegian aviation market. Therefore, the acquisition can now be carried out.”
On July 6, 2023, Norwegian announced that it had reached an all-cash NOK 1,125 million (approximately $105 million / €97 million) deal with WF Holding AS, the parent company of Widerøe.
“We are very satisfied that the Norwegian Competition Authority has reached this decision and that our input has been listened to. The acquisition will give customers a better route offer, more options, and will help secure Norwegian jobs,” Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian, said in response to the latest development.
The CEO of Widerøe, Stein Nilsen, was equally pleased at securing the takeover, saying that he “couldn’t have wished for a better Christmas present”.