Monarch set to be acquired by Greybull Capital-Reuters

(Reuters) – British holidays and airline company Monarch is set to be acquired by Greybull Capital after the London-based family investment firm was named as its preferred bidder.

The new owner would invest around 75 million pounds ($122.87 million) in the airline, a person familiar with the matter said, to help fund its plan to turn into a budget airline to better compete against Europe’s biggest low-cost carriers Ryanair and easyJet.

Greybull would be buying Monarch from its shareholders, principally the Mantegazza family, ending their relationship with the airline which stretches back to its start in the 1960s.

Monarch said in a statement that negotiations were ongoing but conditional upon their successful conclusion, a deal could take place in late October.

The Mantegazza family has invested 115 million pounds in Monarch over the last five years. It is set to make a further contribution of around 70 million pounds to the airline to help the deal go through and cover legacy liability issues, the person said on Wednesday.

As part of its plan to shift to a budget airline model from its current charter flights operation, Monarch was in August said to be planning to cut staff numbers by a third and shrink its fleet of aircraft to 30 from its current 42.

Monarch Group flies primarily to Mediterranean beach and European ski destinations, also operates tour operating and holiday companies under the Cosmos, Avro and somewhere2stay brands.