The owner of British Airways is planning a third offer for no-frills rival Norwegian that would value the airline at £1.3bn, reports suggest.
International Airlines Group’s latest offer, which follows two failed bids revealed earlier this month, is worth 330 kroner (£30.30) per share according to Spanish newspaper Expansion, a 32pc premium on Friday’s closing price.
The bids follow the news last month that BA had taken a 4.6pc stake in Norwegian, which has been growing rapidly by offering low-cost fares on long-haul routes but made a lost last year as a result.
IAG declined to comment on the report.
On Friday IAG’s chief executive Willie Walsh appeared to play down the chances of an imminent takeover, insisting “this isn’t a deal I have to do” and that IAG would not mount a hostile bid.
“If we do something, we are responsible and would make the required announcements, but I am not expecting to have to do anything in the coming weeks or months,” Mr Walsh told Reuters.
The takeover talks come at a time of consolidation for the European airline industry after EasyJet bought part of bankrupt carrier Air Berlin in December and Ryanair agreed to buy a majority stake in Austria’s LaudaMotion in March.
EasyJet, Germany’s Lufthansa and Hungary's Wizz Air are currently in talks to buy Italian flag carrier Alitalia, which filed for bankruptcy a year ago.
Shares in IAG were up 0.7pc at 688p in early trade.