British Airways owner IAG weighs takeover offer for Norwegian Air

British Airways owner IAG weighs takeover offer for Norwegian Air

British Airways' parent company says it is considering making an offer for low-priced carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle.

IAG has been scouting for potential acquisitions in Europe and while the United Kingdom firm has set its sights on Norwegian Air, it has previously looked at targets including Spanish airline Air Europa Lineas Aereas, the people said.

Norwegian shares rose by 40% in early trading upon the news. The shareholding "is meant to establish a position from which to initiate discussions with Norwegian, including the possibility of a full offer for Norwegian".

IAG said it considers Norwegian to be an "attractive investment".

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Adding Norwegian would jolt IAG's foray into low-priced, long-haul service into hyperdrive. The company said it had "no prior knowledge of this acquisition" and "has not been in any discussions or dialogue with IAG about the matter". Kjos developed it from being a shuttle service on Norway's West Coast into a domestic carrier with lower fares and far fewer passenger amenities than those offered by arch rival Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). Representatives for Norwegian Air declined to comment.

Germany's Lufthansa and EasyJet expressed interest in Italy's struggling Alitalia this week.

"Everybody in Europe wanted to buy us", Norwegian Air's 71-year-old CEO, Bjorn Kjos, said in an interview this month. "If you decide to sell, that is when you take in other investors, but that has not been on our agenda at all".

IAG, which also owns Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, confirmed suspicions that the purchase signalled a broader interest in acquiring the company.

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