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Bigger, better Air India deal as full government stake up for sale

NEW DELHI:  After its failed bid in 2018 to divest 76% in Air India, the government on Monday renewed efforts to sell the debt-trapped national carrier by sweetening the deal to attract buyers. According to the bid document issued by the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management on Monday, the government will sell 100% stake in the carrier as well as subsidiary Air India Express, and its entire 50% stake in ground-handling firm Air India SATS Airport Services, a 50:50 joint venture with Singapore Airport Terminal Services.

The government plans to sell all three entities together. The management control of the national carrier will also be transferred to the new investor, who cannot change Air India’s brand name. To attract more potential buyers, the government has also relaxed the eligibility criteria for bidders. Only those with net worth of `5,000 crore were allowed to bid earlier, which has now been brought down to `3,500 crore.