Virgin said it is extending its strategic review, delaying the auction process, after a global credit crisis meaning potential bidders can’t raise the necessary cash.
Last month, Virgin hired investment banks Goldman Sachs and UBS to do a strategic review, including a potential sale, after a takeover approach from US-based private equity firm Carlyle. Indications of interest from bidders were due by the end of this week, with Virgin’s advisors getting ready to send out sale information.
Virgin said Tuesday that "potential strategic and financial counterparties have continued to confirm a strong ongoing interest in a transaction."
However, banks are refusing to lend any more cash to private equity firms as they deal with an estimated $600bn worth of existing debt that still has to be sorted out. Virgin’s financial advisors have recommended an extension of the process so proposals can be completed "in a more stable debt market environment".