Norwegian Acquisition Of Wideroe Approved

Daniel Fowkes
01 Jan 2024
· Airlines 
Norwegians planned takeover and purchase of Wideroe has finally been approved by Norway's Competition Authority.

Norwegian has welcomed the seal of approval to allow its planned acquisition of Widerøe to consolidate the industry.

After much deliberation, the Norwegian Competition Authority approved a deal worth USD 1.1 billion.

Like other leading watchdogs worldwide, Norway’s Competition Authority is forced to review deals such as the one between Norwegian and Widerøe to ensure it won’t negatively impact consumers and competition in the market.

A Welcomed Approval

There had been concerns over whether a deal would be approved for a significant period. The Norwegian Competition Authority was quick to reject the takeover initially.

Immediately after the deal, the watchdog believed if approved, there would be a substantial weakening of competition in the region for other airlines, which would, therefore, negatively impact customers.

As a result, since the deal was announced towards the mid-way point of 2023, there were concerns surrounding whether approval would ever be granted.

That approval would come at the end of the 2023 calendar year as the watchdog conducted further analysis. By the end of the study, there was not enough evidence to stop the acquisition from moving ahead.

A Timeline To Approval

Norwegian Competition Authority also unveiled the timeline for eventual acquisition approval on 21 December 2023.

– Message received on 11 August 2023

– The Norwegian Competition Authority notifies of the need to look more into the acquisition on 15 September (statutory 25-day notice)

– The Norwegian Competition Authority notified that intervention may become relevant on 17 November 2023 (statutory 70-day notice)

– The parties submitted their comments to the notice on 8 December

– The Norwegian Competition Authority accepted the acquisition on 21 December

Consolidation In The Aviation Industry

The Norwegian and Widerøe deal is hardly the first and likely won’t be the last consolidation seen within the aviation industry across recent years.

Consolidation has been hot on the lips of many as airlines attempt to find ways to seize more markets and, in some cases, survive through the turbulent economic times, among other reasons.

JetBlue is seeking approval for a deal with Spirit Airlines, which will come under substantial focus.

Meanwhile, Korean Air is trying to tie up a takeover of Asiana Airlines to create a mega airline. This company is further along than most, having secured approval from critical regulators, but it’s not there yet.

Among these more substantial takeover plans, airlines worldwide have entered joint ventures and more to improve their service.

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