India's Jet airlines buys rival Sahara

By agencies   |   Thursday, 19 January 2006, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: India's largest domestic carrier, Jet Airways, has bought out rival Sahara Airlines in the biggest merger deal in the country's booming aviation industry.

Though official figures are yet to come out, the Times of India reported that publicly listed Jet bought out privately held Sahara for nearly $500 million in a deal signed late Wednesday night after weeks of negotiations.

The takeover will enable Jet, started by former travel agent Naresh Goyal, to dominate the aviation market amid cutthroat competition spurred by the introduction of the government's open-sky policy in 2003.

Jet's market share is pegged at around 40 percent, while Sahara, owned by reclusive mogul Subrata Roy, commands 17 percent of the market. The takeover is expected to enable Jet to grab around 50 percent of the market ahead of state-run domestic carrier Indian, formerly Indian Airlines.

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