Jet Airways' Attempted Acquisition of Air Sahara

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR219
Case Length : 17 Pages
Pages Period : 2005-2006
Organization : Jet Airways (India) Ltd and Sahara Airlines Ltd
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : India
Industry : Aviation

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Jet Acquires Sahara

When AS announced that it was exploring opportunities for private placement of its equity, airline companies such as SpiceJet showed an interest in acquiring a stake in the company.

At this time, however, JA did not express any interest in acquiring a stake in AS. Instead, Kingfisher Airlines, an airline owned by Vijay Mallya, chairman of the UB group, was considered a serious contender for AS. Mallya intended to speed up his growth plan in the aviation industry and believed that a merger with AS would help him achieve this objective. He negotiated with the company for a while but ultimately pulled out saying that the price set for AS was too high. Said Mallya, "I valued Sahara less as I can't pay for parking slots that belong to the state." By this time, price had become the main concern for most of the potential acquirers. Analysts too opined that a valuation of around US$1 billion for an airline that was in debt was a bit too much...

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The Challenges

Some industry observers believed that JA had overvalued AS and hence overpaid for acquiring the company. According to analysts, AS was not a profitable airline and hence the price paid was more than what the airline was actually worth.

Alok Dalal (Dalal), research analyst, India Infoline, commented, "The deal is favorable to Jet in terms of operational efficiencies but it is not so in terms of financials, as Jet has paid a much higher price." He added, "Sahara's financials are not as strong as compared to Jet." Defending the deal, Goyal said, "We've done serious valuation after studying similar deals done abroad. We've analyzed what happened when TWA sold to American Airlines or when Pan Am sold to United Airlines. We know what we are doing." It was also believed that although JA had gained certain synergies from the acquisition, it also had the difficult task of turning around the loss-making AS. Analysts expressed concern that JA would concentrate on making AS profitable at the cost of its own performance...

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