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Etihad in the Running

Manu Kaushik     May 15, 2019

Etihad Airways has emerged the sole bidder for Jet Airways. Etihad has not disclosed the stake it plans to acquire and at what price, but the bid reportedly says it cannot be the sole investor and will need additional investors to provide majority of Jet's required recapitalisation.

This alludes to either of three scenarios: Etihad is buying more time to find an entity to stitch a deal since its stake cannot go beyond 49 per cent as per FDI rules. The other possibility is that Etihad is putting the onus on lenders to lure a majority partner with an attractive deal, and that could be the governments sovereign fund NIIF or Tata Group, which was interested in buying Jet a few months ago.

Etihad could also want lenders to become partners themselves, take a large haircut and give Etihad's management a free hand in running Jet. Earlier, three unsolicited bids from fairly unknown parties landed up on the lenders table. With no clear winner to emerge any time soon, it seems that the Jet story is far from over.

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