IAG to acquire Niki for €20 million

British Airways owner IAG is buying Niki from collapsed Air Berlin in a deal worth €36.5m (£32.5m), swooping on the Austrian airline weeks after Lufthansa was forced to back away.

"IAG is the last remaining bidder and is still negotiating now", the person was quoted as saying by DPA.

German newspaper Bild put the figure at around €40 million ($48 million) without citing sources.

Niki's administrator Lucas Floether has confirmed that creditors have agreed to begin "final talks" with an unnamed chosen bidder.

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The European Commission had expressed "deep competition concerns" about a possible Lufthansa purchase of 81 Air Berlin and Niki jets.

Air Berlin had faced a narrow time window to find a new buyer, before Vienna-based Niki lost its valuable starting- and landing rights at European airports to their respective operators for re-allocation.

It emerged yesterday that IAG was the only remaining bidder for Niki, after reportedly having offered the highest amount for the business.

NIKI filed for bankruptcy December 13 after Lufthansa withdrew its offer to buy the airline after the European Commission's made clear it had serious concerns anticompetitive concerns about the deal. IAG and Thomas Cook's Condor subsidiary declined to comment on Thursday. The new company plans to employ around 740 former Niki employees to run the operation, and further details of its branding and route network will be announced "in due course", the group adds.

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