Skift Take

Sky News and the Financial Times said Richard Branson's carrier is mulling a fall IPO. It's unclear what executives at Delta Air Lines, a major shareholder, think about the prospect.

Britain-based airline Virgin Atlantic is planning to list on the London Stock Exchange, Sky News reported on Saturday and the Financial Times on Sunday.

Citing “City sources”, Sky News said the airline founded by Richard Branson has received positive responses from institutional investors about an initial public offering, with an autumn announcement likely.

It said the move would almost certainly see Branson relinquish overall control of the business.

It added that Virgin Atlantic has hired Citi and Barclays to oversee the listing.

The airline is 51% owned by Branson’s Virgin Group and 49% by the U.S.’s Delta Air Lines Inc.

“We won’t be commenting on speculation,” said a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson.

Like most airlines, the firm has been hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April it reported a 659 million pound ($914 million) pretax loss for 2020 after passenger numbers dropped 80%.

Virgin Atlantic cut costs last year, shedding 41% of its workforce and retiring some older aircraft early.

Sky News: Virgin Atlantic takes flight with surprise plot to land on London stock market

(Reporting by Juby Babu in Bengaluru and James Davey in London; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Christina Fincher)

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Tags: airlines, ipo, richard branson, transatlantic, transatlantic travel, virgin atlantic

Photo credit: A seat on the upper deck of a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350 in the daytime. Virgin Atlantic

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