Alaska Air Group Inc. has concluded arrangement to buy Virgin America Inc. for $2.6 billion. The move which was officially disclosed on Monday was to expand its presence on the U.S. West Coast.
Alaska’s offer of $57 per share in cash represents a premium of about 47 percent to Virgin’s Friday’s close.
Richard Branson, Virgin mogul, somewhat detached himself from the deal noting that it was Virgin America’s board that accepted Alaska’s advances. In an extensive letter published on his website, Branson explained:
“I would be lying if I didn’t admit sadness that our wonderful airline is merging with another. Because I’m not American, the US Department of Transportation stipulated I take some of my shares in Virgin America as non-voting shares, reducing my influence over any takeover. So there was sadly nothing I could do to stop it.”
Whether Virgin will retain its brand identity and attitude at Alaska, only time shall tell.