US investors confirmed as preferred bidders to buy Virgin Australia

The airline went into administration owing AU$7 billion earlier this year.
The airline went into administration owing AU$7 billion earlier this year. Photo credit: Getty.

US private equity group Bain Capital has been selected as the preferred bidder for Virgin Australia.

The airline's administrator Deloitte has confirmed it has entered into a sale and implementation deed, subject to minimal conditions, with Bain Capital.

Deloitte said it was too early to estimate how much money the airline's creditors would receive as a result of the sale, but it's expected there will be no return for shareholders.

When the company entered into voluntary administration it was revealed the airline was carrying excess baggage of AU$7 billion owed to creditors.

Virgin Australia's current management team led by CEO Paul Scurrah will be retained by its new owners.

Bain Capital has also committed to the retention of thousands of jobs, honouring all travel credits and Velocity Frequent Flyer booked flights, and employee entitlements.

It also plans a "significant injection of capital to see the business recapitalised and well-positioned for the future".

Bain Capital was involved in the launch of, Lime, LinkedIn, SurveyMonkey and it also owns iHeartRadio. 

It's also the majority owner of the new Virgin Voyages cruise line, also set up by Sir Richard Branson.

It beat a last minute rush of offers including one from Cyrus Capital Partners, which has shares in Branson's Virgin America and was one of the key investors in UK airline FlyBe, which closed down earlier this year when its existing financial difficulties were made dramatically worse by COVID-19.