British Airways’ owner IAG has said it is considering making an offer to buy low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle.
IAG (International Airlines Group) revealed it has acquired a 4.61% stake in the airline “to establish a position from which to initiate discussions, including the possibility of a full offer for Norwegian”.
It said “no such discussions have taken place to date” and that “no decision” had been taken to make an offer, adding that “there is no certainty that any such decision will be made”.
Shares in Norwegian Air – which is reportedly worth $1.2bn (£845m) – soared by 37% following Thursday’s announcement.
The airline said it had no prior knowledge of IAG’s actions, but welcomed the investment.
“Norwegian believes that IAG’s interest in the company confirms the sustainability and potential of our business model and global growth,” it said.
The firm has had a major impact on the long-haul market in Europe, undercutting rivals on trans-Atlantic ticket prices.
Deals have included £99 flights from Edinburgh and Dublin to New York.
As well as British Airways, Anglo-Spanish firm IAG also owns Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling.
It also recently launched a budget long-haul operator called Level.