SIA in talks to sell off Virgin Atlantic stake

Singapore Airlines said Monday it was in talks with "interested parties" on a possible sale of its 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic as media reports listed US carrier Delta Air Lines as a possible buyer.

"Singapore Airlines wishes to announce that it is in discussions with interested parties concerning the possible divestment of its 49 percent shareholding in Virgin Atlantic Limited," the carrier said in a statement.

"These discussions may or may not result in a transaction," it added without naming any of the parties involved in the talks.

Virgin Atlantic was founded by British transport mogul Richard Branson in 1984, with the flamboyant entrepreneur owning a majority 51 percent stake in the airline.

Britain's Sunday Times newspaper identified Delta as one of the interested parties and reported that the US carrier had approached SIA directly over the stake, which SIA had paid 600 million pounds for in 1999.

If the sale goes through, Delta's European partner, Air France-KLM, may then buy part of Branson's 51 percent stake which would see him losing control for the first time of the airline he founded, the report added.

Delta was not immediately available for comment.

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