australian aviation logo

Virgin buyer latest: Billionaire IndiGo founder linked

written by Adam Thorn | May 12, 2020

Virgin Australia flies Boeing 777-300ERs from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to Los Angeles. (Rob Finlayson)
Virgin Australia flies Boeing 777-300ERs from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to Los Angeles. (Rob Finlayson)

The billionaire founder and largest shareholder of Indian budget carrier IndiGo is reportedly set to bid for Virgin Australia.

Rahul Bhatia will make the approach through his InterGlobe company, The Australian claims, and has already hired advisory firm Investec.

The revelation is one of a glut of new rumours to emerge ahead of the Friday deadline for expressions of interest.

Others state that the Macquarie, Brookfield joint bid has been scrapped; Sir Richard Branson could invest in the reborn airline through selling a stake in his Galactic space project; and that administrators Deloitte are determined to sell the business as a whole, despite its debts.

Bhatia and his father, Kapil, have an estimated fortune of more than $5 billion, and InterGlobe, of which he owns 51 per cent, has already invested in the local Australian tourism industry.

IndiGo is predominately known as a budget carrier, and his bid would increase rumours that a reborn airline would go back to its low-cost Virgin Blue roots.

The AFR, meanwhile, said that the much-speculated joint bid between Macquarie and Brookfield has broken up, with the latter now deciding whether to go it alone.


The paper’s Street Talk column speculates that Macquarie “pulled the pin” but that it’s unclear as to whether it would emerge as a lone bidder, too.

Finally, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson has confirmed he’s seeking to sell more than 20 per cent of his space flight venture, Virgin Galactic, to raise cash to save Virgin Atlantic, and possibly Virgin Australia.

In a New York Stock Exchange filing, the British billionaire issued a prospectus for the sale of 25 million shares, thought to be worth $742 million.


The Virgin Group specifically stated the proceeds would aid its “leisure, holiday and travel businesses that have been affected by the unprecedented impact of COVID-19”.

As the Friday bidding deadline looms, Deloitte administrator Vaughan Strawbridge is confident he can avoid “breaking up and selling parts of the business”, according to The Australian.

Other potential bidders linked include BGB Capital, Wesfarmers and Andrew Forrest, along with rumoured interest from state governments.

For more of our in-depth coverage, click the links below:

Comments (3)

  • Bernard


    Things seem to be realigning: smaller Virgin likely to concentrate on large cities and some international (link up with Virgin Atlantic?, so Virgin withdraws from more regional routes so Rex can fill that void and get bigger with more capital cities routes: question will Rex control any debt better than Virgin when it went toe to toe with Qantas? So planes get horse traded, Qantas might have two competitors now, but each concentrating on segments partly to ensure better cash flow to debt ratios? I hope Australian aviation and consumer wins as well as airlines.

  • Rod Pickin


    Naturally I am looking forward to Friday, hopefully a positive result for the VOZ family but unfortunately though we have to remember that the company administrators’ only interest is to get the best financial outcome for the creditors. This is a clinical operation not assisted at this time by the current world health crisis so people, expect a plain and simple financial result, not an operating airline rebirth. For me though, expecting the company fleet to have to be disbursed I would expect Alliance to be very interested in the Fokker jets and if they had any serious vision Qantas should pickup the complete business centre of B777-300ER’s aircraft crews and support to replace their B747’s, I believe that the B777 offers far more options than those light twins the B787. The A330-200’s have an important role to play within the Asian Pacific region plus they should be used on routes that are a bit of a stretch at this time for the B737-800 but I would expect the number crunchers to have a less sympathetic view and they may well go. The turboprop fleet is a must to retain for our domestic country and intrastate peoples and I would expect them to be retained in the remaining VOZ operations. As for the A320’s, at this stage, I can’t see a future for them in either VOZ or Tigerair, even Tigerair itself. For those of you that will be adversely affected, I can assure you that your skills will be taken up by an often unusual occupation, life goes on: it’s hard, but smile.

  • Anton


    What do you mean by the word reborn? When it comes to getting an airline back in the air

Leave a Comment to Rod Pickin Cancel

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Each day, our subscribers are more informed with the right information.

SIGN UP to the Australian Aviation magazine for high-quality news and features for just $99.95 per year

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.