Blackstone may buy stake in Jet Airways’ Privilege loyalty arm

Blackstone may buy stake in Jet Airways’ Privilege loyalty arm

According to reports, Jet Airways has approached a consortium of lenders led by SBI to raise ₹5,000 crore in order to pay off part of its foreign debt. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint

According to reports, Jet Airways has approached a consortium of lenders led by SBI to raise ₹5,000 crore in order to pay off part of its foreign debt. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint

Bengaluru: US private equity firm Blackstone Group LP is in talks to acquire a stake in the frequent-flier loyalty programme of Jet Airways (India) Ltd, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg on Wednesday. A potential deal could value the loyalty programme, Jet Privilege Private Ltd, between Rs 3,000 crore and Rs 4,000 crore and would be dependant on Jet Airways securing adequate funding for its airline operations, Bloomberg said.

Jet Airways and its partner Etihad Airways will remain investors in Jet Privilege even after a potential Blackstone transaction. Etihad owns 50.1% of the loyalty programme, while Jet Airways owns the rest.

“As a minority shareholder (in Jet Airways), Etihad continues to work constructively with the Jet Airways board, promoter and management team,” an Etihad spokesman said in an emailed statement.

Earlier this week, Jet said it was considering various options on priority to meet its funding requirements but called media reports on stake sale or plans to monetise its investment in its frequent flier programme as “purely speculative”.

The airline has also deferred its quarterly earnings report.

Blackstone was not immediately reachable for comment, while Jet Airways was unavailable for comment on account of a public holiday.

Jet Airways, along with Etihad, has embarked upon a reorganisation of its JetPrivilege programme to establish the unit as an independent loyalty and rewards company with a mandate to own and manage the operations of the loyalty programme independently, according to Jet Airways website.

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