February 20, 2011 / 2:45 PM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 1-Air France, Delta to examine Virgin Atlantic bid-report

(Adds response from Delta)

LONDON, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA), Europe’s largest airline by revenue, and Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) are working together to examine a bid for Virgin Atlantic [VA.UL], the Sunday Times reported, citing no sources.

The consortium is trying to tempt Virgin into joining the Skyteam alliance and has hired Goldman Sachs as an adviser, the paper said.

Virgin Atlantic responded with a statement that said: “Virgin Atlantic is a strong, independent business with a good growth position at both London Heathrow and Gatwick so we are not surprised that there is interest in us.”

The company added that it could not comment any further at this stage.

Virgin founder Richard Branson retained a 51 percent stake in the airline, while Singapore Airlines (SIAL.SI) holds the remainder.

    “As a matter of policy, we do not comment on industry rumors or speculation about potential airline partnership,” said Olivia Cullis, a spokeswoman for Delta.

    Air France-KLM was unavailable for comment.

    Reporting by Julie Crust, Rhys Jones, Karen Jacobs, and Tim Hepher; editing by Sophie Walker and Diane Craft

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