Norwegian’s takeover of Widerøe will have to wait

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The Norwegian competition authority has extended the examination of Norwegian Air’s offer for its domestic rival Widerøe by two months.

The takeover of the Norwegian regional company Widerøe by Norwegian Air, announced on July 6, may not go as smoothly as initially announced. The Norwegian competition monitoring authority has just extended the examination of the takeover offer by two months.

Suspicion of obstruction of competition

“There may be reasons to fear that the acquisition will be negative for Norwegian air passengers,” said Katrine Amdam, project manager at the authority. The authority now has until November 17 to present its preliminary opinion on whether the transaction is likely to hinder effective competition, with the final deadline set for January 3.

The announced deal is valued at 1.13 billion Norwegian crowns ($105 million), subject to final adjustments, and Norwegian said it hopes to close the transaction by the end of the year.

A very old company

The Norwegian company Widerøe was founded in 1934 by five friends including Viggo Widerøe. Originally an air taxi, it was reorganized in the 1970s to become a truly regular regional company. In 1997, it joined the SAS group, before it was resold in 2013. In 2018, it was the first airline in the world to put the new Embraer E190-E2 into service. In 2022, it diversified its regional activities in Scandinavia by opening flights to Spain (Alicante, Palma de Mallorca), France (Nice) and Italy (Florence). It operates a total of 46 destinations, with a fleet of 43 aircraft (26 Dash 8 Q200s, 10 Dash 8 Q400s, 4 Dash 8 Q300s and 3 Embraer 190-E2s).

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