As deadline for expiry of pact nears

Our Bureau

New Delhi, June 20

With less than 24 hours left, uncertainty continues over the formalisation of the Rs 2,200-crore deal of Jet Airways acquiring Air Sahara.

While those connected with the negotiations maintained that the deal going through was beginning to look "unlikely", a statement issued by Jet Airways, while being silent on the status of the buyout and share purchase agreement, said that the airline was still "awaiting all the regulatory approvals and the fulfilment of all conditions precedent".

Talks still on

However, a senior official connected with the negotiations told

Business Line

late on Tuesday evening that discussions were still on and added that a clearer picture on whether the acquisition is on or has been called off would emerge later in the night. "At the moment it would be tricky to comment on the status of the deal," the official added. The deal awaits Governmental clearances, as the Ministry of Home Affairs has not yet granted security clearance for the Jet Airways Chairman, Mr Naresh Goyal, to join the Air Sahara board.

Sources refused to speculate on whether the two parties would again agree to a 90-day extension for getting all regulatory clearances.

In March this year, both parties agreed to a three-month extension.

While Jet Airways paid Air Sahara Rs 500 crore at that time, it was agreed that the money would be returned in case the deal did not go through.

Besides, in anticipation of the deal getting all the regulatory clearances, Air Sahara allowed a team of senior management personnel from Jet Airways to come on board and help in the daily running of the airline.

In addition, the two parties had agreed to deposit the monies for the transaction in an escrow account in Mumbai. This too would have some commitments, sources indicated.

Related Stories:
Sahara board: Security nod awaited for Naresh Goyal
Jet to pay Sahara Rs 500 cr advance
Jet-Sahara deal may go through

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 21, 2006)
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