By Max Bernhard 
 

Richard Branson said he has abandoned plans to sell a stake in U.K. airline Virgin Atlantic to Air France-KLM (AF.FR).

The British billionaire said Monday in a letter to employees posted on his blog that he has reached a deal to retain a 31% stake in the airline he founded, keeping the total holding at 51%.

In 2018, Air France had signed a definitive agreement to acquire the 31% stake in Virgin Atlantic for 220 million pounds ($284.3 million). Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) was to retain the 49% stake it already holds as part of the deal between the three partners.

"To get the deal done, we initially thought our family would need to reduce its shareholding in Virgin Atlantic," Mr. Branson said Monday. The new agreement with the joint-venture partners is "subject to contract," he said , noting that the expanded joint venture with Delta and Air France "remains an essential part of our future and long-term success."

 

Write to Max Bernhard at max.bernhard@dowjones.com; @mxbernhard

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 03, 2019 03:34 ET (08:34 GMT)

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