Administrators have announced Bain Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners as the final two bidders left in the race to buy Virgin Australia.
The two US-based private equity firms are “well-funded” and have “deep aviation experience”, according to Deloitte administrator Vaughan Strawbridge.
“We will now spend the coming weeks facilitating in-depth bidder engagement with the stakeholders of the business and work closely with both preferred bidders in the lead up to binding final offers being received,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
The two bidders were chosen from a pool of five interested buyers, who held talks with Deloitte over the weekend.
They now have until June 12 to lodge binding bids for the airline, with Deloitte determined to sell Virgin by June 30.
Bain Capital is being advised by former Jetstar chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka, while Cyrus Capital was involved with the launch of Virgin America with Richard Branson, the Courier Mail reports.
Virgin Australia was almost $7 billion in debt when it went into voluntary administration in late April as the coronavirus pandemic halted the global aviation industry.
The airline appealed for a $1.4 billion loan to stay afloat, but the government refused to bail out the majority foreign-owned company.
About 1,000 staff were made redundant before the carrier went into voluntary administration, while 8,000 others were furloughed, leaving just 1,000 still working.
– With wires