LONDON Dec 2 Delta Air Lines, America's largest
airline, is plotting to take control of Virgin Atlantic after
making a secret approach to the British carrier's Asian
shareholder, Britain's Sunday Times reported.
Delta is understood to have offered to buy Singapore
Airlines' 49 percent stake in Virgin. If it succeeds,
Delta's European partner Air France-KLM may then buy
part of Richard Branson's 51 percent stake, seeing its founder
lose control of the airline for the first time.
Branson, who set up Virgin Atlantic in 1984, has been
weighing the airline's future for years and two years ago
appointed Deutsche Bank to examine offers.
"We are always talking to many airlines on a number of
different matters but we never comment on the details of these
discussions," a Virgin Atlantic spokeswoman said on Sunday.
Delta and Air France-KLM came close to a deal to buy Virgin
Atlantic in February last year but talks broke down over price
and Branson's rights over the Virgin brand, the paper reported
Delta was not immediately available for comment.