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BA seen accepting 55% stake in Iberia

  British Airways would accept a 55% stake in the enlarged company resulting from a planned merger with Spanish carrier Iberia, the El Economista newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Iberia’s board are due to meet on Thursday to discuss the details of the share exchange for the merger, which BA originally hoped could net it about 65% of the combined company, the paper said, citing sources close to the talks. An Iberia spokeswoman said the article was “pure speculation” and declined to comment further while negotiations were ongoing.

Iberia’s market capitalization has risen above BA’s because of the weakened pound and a drop in BA’s share price following a profit warning. The change in valuations of the two companies led the chairman of Iberia’s core shareholder Caja Madrid to say early this month he expected Iberia to have 45% of the enlarged company resulting from the merger.

Separately, Spanish daily El Mundo cited sources close to the merger talks saying BA and Iberia have decided the headquarters of the new company should be located in London and governed by British corporate law. (Reuters)