British Airways and Iberia parent International Consolidated Airlines Group’s (LON:IAG) chief executive Willie Walsh is poised to clash with Sir Richard Branson over struggling carrier Flybe, The Telegraph has reported. The news comes after the loss-making airline recently put itself up for sale.
IAG’s share price has climbed higher in London in today’s session, having gained 1.73 percent to 659.40p as of 08:59 GMT. The stock is outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 1.17 percent higher at 7,034.23 points. The group’s shares have added a little over 10 percent to their value over the past year as compared with about a 5.1-percent drop in the Footsie.
IAG to clash with Branson
The Telegraph reported over the weekend, quoting sources, that IAG, which also owns Aer Lingus and low-cost carriers Vueling and Level, was in pole position to buy Flybe, with its regional network providing a useful link into British Airways’ hub at Heathrow. The struggling carrier, however confirmed last week that it was in discussions with Virgin Atlantic, while noting that there was no certainty that an offer would be made.
The update comes after it recently emerged that easyJet (LON:EZJ) was interested in buying parts of Flybe. City A.M. reports that the low-cost airline’s CEO Johan Lundgren had dismissed reports that the company is considering a bid for Flybe, while refusing to rule out a future deal.
Analysts on FTSE 100 group
Sanford C. Bernstein, which rates IAG as a ‘buy,’ set a price target on the shares of 750p last week, while UBS reaffirmed the British Airways owner as a ‘neutral,’ without specifying a valuation on the stock. According to MarketBeat, the FTSE 100 group currently has a consensus ‘buy’ rating and an average price target of 746.57p.