Skywest shares surge 50 pct on Virgin Australia approach

MELBOURNE Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:13pm EDT

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MELBOURNE Oct 30 (Reuters) - Shares in Australia's Skywest surged 50 percent on Tuesday after Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd offered to buy the airline as part of a set of deals to help it compete with larger rival Qantas Airways .

Shares in Virgin, which said alliance partner Singapore Airlines will buy a 10 percent stake for A$105 million ($108 million), rose 6.5 percent.

Seeking to consolidate its domestic position, Virgin also agreed to provide a lifeline for Singapore's struggling Australian budget unit, by agreeing to acquire 60 percent of Tiger Australia for A$35 million ($36.15 million). ($1 = 0.9683 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Victoria Thieberger; Editing by John Mair)