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Travel industry news

11 Mar 2019

BY James Chapple


Flybe sale to Virgin-led consortium granted court approval

Connect Airways’ acquisition of Flybe has been approved by the courts.


Flybe sale to Virgin-led consortium granted court approval

Subject to delivery of a final copy of the order to Companies House, approval marks the suspension of trading in Flybe shares as of Monday morning (March 11).

Flybe shareholders approved Connect’s £2.2 million one-pence-per-share offer for shell company Flybe Group plc last Monday (March 4).

It comes after Connect, a consortium comprising Virgin Atlantic, Southend airport owner Stobart Group and hedge fund Cyrus Capital Partners, acquired Flybe’s assets for £2.8 million last month.

Virgin and Stobart will each take a 30% stake, and Cyrus 40%.


However, Connect has sought to postpone a general meeting of shareholders, fixed for March 22, "indefinitely". This would, in effect, prevent those shareholders who oppose the deal from having the chance to have a say on proceedings.


In a trading update issued on Monday morning (March 11), Connect confirmed the suspension of Flybe shares and its plans to block the March 22 meeting.


"Connect Airways will be the sole registered shareholder of the company at the time of the requisitioned general meeting convened for March 22, 2019," said the consortium.


"Accordingly, persons who were Flybe shareholders before the scheme [sale] became effective will not be eligible to attend or vote and should not travel to, return forms of proxy, or otherwise attempt to vote, in relation to the resolutions set out in the notice of, the requisitioned meeting as their votes will not be counted.


"Connect Airways, as sole shareholder, intends to procure the requisitioned meeting is adjourned indefinitely."


Flybe is expected to be rebranded Virgin Atlantic, but will continue to operate independently of the transatlantic carrier.

Approval follows Virgin’s new codeshare agreement with Air France and KLM, a deal Virgin says will bring the UK’s regions “closer to North America”.

Virgin is expected to use the Flybe acquisition to provide greater connectivity to Virgin’s long-haul – Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester.

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