December 28, 2017 / 12:58 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-One bidder remains in takeover talks for Niki, Lauda pulls out

(Adds details)

VIENNA, Dec 28 (Reuters) - One bidder is left in what was a four-party competition to take over Air Berlin’s insolvent Austrian airline Niki, its administrator said in an emailed statement on Thursday, adding the deal should be completed within days.

Former Formula One world champion Niki Lauda, the airline’s founder, was quoted as saying on the website of Austrian newspaper Die Presse that he was no longer a potential buyer.

Other bidders included IAG, the owner of British Airways and low-cost carrier Vueling, British tour operator Thomas Cook and tour operator TUI, according to sources and German newspapers respectively.

Die Presse said, without citing sources, that IAG was likely to be the last bidder. IAG and Thomas Cook’s unit Condor declined to comment on Thursday. TUI was not immediately available to comment.

“The provisional creditors’ committee for Niki (...) today decided to continue sales negotiations for the business operations of the company exclusively with one bidder for now. (The committee) tasked the provisional administrator Floether to conclusively negotiate the purchase contract over the coming days,” Floether’s spokesman said in the statement.

He declined to give further details.

Reporting by Shadia Nasralla, additional reporting by Andy Bruce and Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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