Arizona-based Airline Offers Last-minute Flybe Rescue Deal


    Mesa, an airline that is based in Arizona, USA, has proposed a £65 million rescue deal for Flybe, the struggling regional carrier. It comes as a dramatic move that could affect a takeover bid that is led by Virgin Atlantic.

    Reportedly, Mesa is leading a consortium of investors that tabled an injection of fresh equity during a Flybe board meeting that was held today in an attempt to save the troubled airline.

    The rescue plan was first reported by Sky News. People close to the company also said that the refinancing plan was supported by Bateleur Capital, a fund management company that is based in South African and Avenue Capital, a US hedge fund.

    The rival proposal is believed to have been submitted to the board of Flybe which is chaired by Simon Laffin, on Tuesday afternoon.

    The terms of the said deal would see the group invest £65 million worth of fresh equity at approximately 4.5p per share, much higher as compared to the 1p per share offer that was tabled by the Virgin-led consortium.

    The offer of Mesa would also include new debt facilities, taking the total amount of funding up to £120 million, and is subject to Flybe rejecting the offer of Virgin.

    The move is considered as a dramatic last-minute intervention in the takeover saga that has prompted anger among investors.

    The Virgin-led group has already provided the budget airline with the first £10 million of a bridging loan that is worth up to £20 million.

    However, Hosking Partners, the largest shareholder of Flybe, has criticised the directors of the ailing airline for accepting the said deal. It also threatened to challenge the bid in court.

    The last-minute offer means that Flybe must now make a decision before Friday, when the Virgin deal is scheduled to be completed.

    Flybe refused to comment regarding, while Mesa could not be contacted for comment.