Former F1 champ Niki Lauda triumphs in Niki airline takeover bid

Niki Air BerlinIn a surprise victory earlier this week, Niki Lauda won the battle to take over the reins at the airline he founded. The International Airlines Group (IAG) was pipped at the post by the F1 racing legend in the fight to buy the bankrupt airline Niki.

IAG, the current parent of UK carrier British Airways, had already agreed terms for the purchase of the Air Berlin subsidiary. Earlier this month, courts in Berlin basically pulled the plug on the deal by ruling liquidation proceedings needed to be shifted to Austria, the country where Niki was headquartered.

The location shift allowed other interested parties to enter the fray. Niki Lauda along with Ryanair tabled bids. On Monday, Niki’s administrators met creditors in a move to thrash out the best offer. The meeting was long and it was after midnight when the administrators announced the victor.

Administrators Lucas Floether and Ulla Reisch released a joint statement saying Niki Lauda’s Laudamotion had put forward the best bid. The two did not say how much the deal was worth but noted it was expected to get a seal of approval from the relevant regulatory authorities.

Laudamotion was charter carrier Amira Air until 2016 when racing champ Niki Lauda took over the helm and renamed it. He established Niki in 2003 after taking over another charter carrier, Aero Lloyd, but sold his shares to Air Berlin eight years later. Speaking to reporters, Lauda said he was pleased to be getting Niki back as it held a special place in his heart.



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