Delta’s Anderson Sees Completing Virgin Stake Purchase Next WeekMary Jane Credeur and Leslie Picker
Delta Air Lines Inc. will finalize its purchase of a 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. on June 24, Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson said.
“On Monday, we’ll announce the closing,” Anderson said today in a weekly recorded message to employees.
Delta President Ed Bastian will join Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger in New York for the event, Anderson said. The carriers will begin a codeshare agreement that allows passengers to book tickets on each other’s planes on a single itinerary, he said.
Delta, based in Atlanta, can proceed after winning regulatory approval from the European Commission and the U.S. Justice Department yesterday, Anderson said. Delta and Virgin Atlantic, which is 51 percent owned by U.K. billionaire Richard Branson, are still seeking antitrust immunity from the U.S. Transportation Department that would allow them to jointly set fares and schedules and act as a single entity.
Delta is buying the Virgin stake from Singapore Airlines Ltd. for $360 million to increase its share of the trans-Atlantic market, the world’s richest segment of premium passengers. The move is also a challenge to British Airways and AMR Corp.’s American Airlines, who now control more than half of that service.