Najah Air Sdn Bhd, led by AirAsia Group co-founder and former chairman Pahamin Ab Rajab along with a group of businessmen, is eyeing SoftBank Group Corp as a seed investor to take over Malaysia Airlines, according to a report by The Edge.
Najah Air is said to have sought an appointment with SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son, although the development is still in its nascent stage.
Quoting sources, the report said Najah Air is confident that it will get SoftBank to back its turnaround plan for the national carrier as the Japanese firm is an investor in transport-related tech companies including Grab, Uber, China’s Didi Chuxing and India’s Ola.
Noting that technology will play an important role in its turnaround plans, Najah Air said it aims to transform Malaysia Airlines into a low-cost, full-service carrier while the national carrier’s sister airline Firefly will become the region’s first ultra-low-cost carrier focusing on millennial consumers.
On Monday, the aviation company is said to be seeking 1 billion ringgit ($240 million) from a Japanese lender to take over Malaysia Airlines Bhd, which is currently solely owned by the country’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd.
Pahamin and a group of businessmen had met Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to express their interest in turning around the ailing national carrier. Najah Air plans to take up minority stake in Malaysia Airlines in a debt-for-equity swap and wants countrol of the board and management.
Besides Najah Air, Weststar Group is also said to be one of the forerunners to bid for Malaysia Airlines and is in preliminary talks with Najah Air to jointly take over the airline. Qatar Airways is also said to have sent a proposal for the bid.
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