Delta Considering Merger With Virgin Atlantic: Report

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Virgin Atlantic received a string of approaches from rivals, including Delta Air Lines, that could eventually lead to a merger, Sky News reported Wednesday.

Sir Richard Branson's company said no formal process with any potential partner was underway but that Delta is among a number of companies assessing a tie-up.

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Sky News learned that Delta's interest, while at an early stage, possibly went as far as recruiting investment bank Goldman Sachs to advise it.

Branson owns 51 percent of Virgin, with Singapore Airlines holding the other 49 percent.

It was understood that Singapore remains keen to offload its interest in Virgin but might struggle to recoup the £600 million ($943 million) it paid.

A deal with Delta would give Virgin access to the SkyTeam alliance, which includes Delta and Air France-KLM, while Delta would benefit through access to Virgin's key landing slots at London's Heathrow Airport.

But potential obstacles to any agreement include restrictions governing airline ownership.

Virgin Atlantic said it "couldn't comment on the specifics" of the approaches it received.

Read more: http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Business/Virgin-Atlantic-Receives-A-String-Of-Approaches-Over-Possible-Tie-Up-Or-Merger/Article/200808315855446