March 12, 2012 / 7:56 AM / 8 years ago

Jet Blue in talks to buy Aer Lingus stake-paper

Jet Blue airplanes are see at JFK Airport in New York February 15, 2007. REUTERS/Jacob Silberberg

DUBLIN (Reuters) - U.S. airline JetBlue (JBLU.O) has spoken to the management of Aer Lingus AERL.I about the possible purchase of a stake in the Irish airline, the Irish Times newspaper reported on Monday, citing informed sources.

The Irish government has said it is considering selling its 25 percent stake in the airline as part of a privatization drive required under its European Union/International Monetary Fund bailout.

The stake is valued at about 115 million euros ($150 million) based on the Irish carrier’s current market capitalization of 461 million euros.

The newspaper said JetBlue is the Aer Lingus management’s preferred trade investor due to the similarities of the carriers’ low-cost business models and the fact they do not compete on any routes.

The two airlines have operated a sales agreement since 2008.

Neither airline immediately responded to emailed requests for comment on the report.

($1 = 0.7622 euros)

Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Mark Potter

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