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Deal in air, not firmed

Air Sahara on Wednesday said it was still on its own, silencing the buzz of a sell-out to Jet Airways -partly or in full -- for the time being. But both carriers said they were in talks to forge "a strategic relationship".

india Updated: Jan 14, 2006 19:26 IST

Air Sahara on Wednesday said it was still on its own, silencing the buzz of a sell-out to Jet Airways -partly or in full -- for the time being. But both carriers said they were in talks to forge "a strategic relationship".

Air Sahara executive vice-president Alok Sharma said no deal had been signed with Jet Airways but talks were on for a strategic relationship. He said the contours of the relationship would be unveiled as the dialogue progress.

"As of now we've no comment to offer other than that we're in a dialogue with Jet," Sharma said. He refused to comment on whether it would be a divestment of majority or minority stake.

Jet Airways executive director Saroj Datta confirmed that no deal had been signed. Sources said the issue of strategic alliance with Air Sahara would come up at its board meeting later this month.

Air Sahara has reportedly been in talks to bring on board a strategic investor. Earlier, it had had talks with the Vijay Mallya-owned Kingfisher. The going price of $600 million, however, was too much for Kingfisher.

Thereafter, Air Sahara was in a dialogue with private equity firm Blackstone Capital to offload up to 26 per cent equity to fund its fleet expansion. The due diligence for this deal is still believed to be on.

In Mumbai, talks of the deal have not gone well with low-cost carriers. Go Air's Jeh Wadia said a JetSahara deal could lead to a monopoly.

First Published: Jan 14, 2006 19:26 IST