MEXICO CITY — A government agency that owns a stake in Aeromexico, one of Mexico's largest airlines, said Thursday that it had accepted a $249-million takeover offer for the carrier by an investment group led by Citibank Inc.'s Banamex unit.
The announcement came after a bidding war heated up Wednesday between the Banamex group and a father-son team of businessmen: Moises Saba Masri and Alberto Saba Raffoul.
Deposit insurance agency IPAB said it accepted the offer of 2.7 pesos (25 cents) a share for Consorcio Aeromexico SAB because it was the highest bid submitted before a 4 p.m. deadline. The government owns 62% of Aeromexico.
The Sabas tried to increase their offer of 2.5 pesos (23 cents) a share, but the bid came in two minutes and 42 seconds after the deadline -- too late to be accepted.
The Banamex group reaffirmed its promise to invest $240 million in the carrier in the next 90 days. "Our goal is for Aeromexico to be a great airline in Mexico and in the world," said Jose Luis Barraza, who will be the company's new chairman.
Aeromexico and the country's other main carrier, Mexicana, were formerly part of the government-owned holding company Cintra, which put the two airlines up for sale in 2005.
The government sold Mexicana to hotel group Grupo Posadas but rejected previous bids for Aeromexico as too low. A $201-million offer by Mexicana for Aeromexico last week was blocked by antitrust regulators.