“Talace Pvt Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons Pvt Ltd, has emerged as a successful bidder for the sale of equity shareholding of the government of India (GOI) in Air India, in AIXL which is a subsidiary of Air India as a part of this transaction and 50 per cent of Air India in AISATS which is another joint venture of Air India along with management control,” Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) announced.
Pandey said that Talace Pvt Ltd quoted an enterprise value of Rs 18,000 crore. The transaction does not include non-core assets including land and building, valued at Rs 14,718 crore, which are to be transferred to GOI’s Air India Assets Holding Ltd (AIAHL), he noted.
The salt-to-software conglomerate was widely seen as the front-runner in the two-player game. A consortium led by Ajay Singh, promoter of struggling low-cost carrier SpiceJet, was hardly seen in the race against the Tatas in terms of financial muscle or management bandwidth.
The country’s largest airline, IndiGo, and other aviation behemoths and fund houses stayed away from the Air India bidding.
Former India head of Qatar Airways and ClubOne Air CEO Rajan Mehra termed the airline business more a “passion game” than necessarily a commercially viable enterprise. Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has reiterated that he would move to court challenging the bid process for Air India.