Bain private equity firm wins bid to buy Virgin Australia

Officials at Deloitte, administrators for ailing carrier Virgin Australia, have announced Bain Capital, a US private equity firm, has won a bid to buy the air carrier, the company said.

Administrators said they had reached a deal with the Boston-based Bain that will result in the sale and recapitalisation of Virgin Australia Holdings and its subsidiary businesses.

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and is due to be completed by August.

The Richard Branson-backed airline has struggled against larger carrier Qantas, which would have enjoyed a virtual monopoly if Virgin went out of business.

The terms of the deal were not spelled out in full, but Bain has committed to the retention of thousands of jobs.

The airline was more than AUD 5 billion (USD 3.2 billion) in debt and had appealed for an AUD1.4 billion loan to stay afloat, but the government refused to bail out the majority foreign-owned company.

Virgin made around 1,000 staff redundant before the carrier went into voluntary administration in April while 8,000 others were furloughed, leaving just 1,000 still working.