US-Brazilian airline founder wins bid for Portuguese carrier

AP News
Posted: Jun 11, 2015 10:54 AM
US-Brazilian airline founder wins bid for Portuguese carrier

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — A Portuguese official says a consortium including the U.S-Brazilian founder of two airlines has won the bidding to buy TAP Portugal, the heavily-indebted national airline.

Treasury Secretary Isabel Castelo Branco announced Thursday that David Neeleman's Gateway consortium will pay 354 million euros ($397 million) for a 61 percent stake.

The deal's value could rise to 488 million euros depending on TAP's 2015 performance.

Neeleman founded the JetBlue airline in the United States and is the CEO of Brazil's Azul carrier. He holds U.S.-Brazilian citizenship.

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The Gateway consortium includes Portuguese bus company owner Humberto Pedrosa.

The other TAP bidder was German Efromovich, owner of Colombian airline Avianca.

The government was trying to complete the sale soon so TAP can recapitalize and modernize its fleet. Regulators' consent could take months.