S7 Group, controlled by Natalya Filyova and her husband Vladislav Filyov, has bought 25.5 percent in S7 Airlines from the government at an auction, Alfa Bank, the organizer of the auction, said Thursday, Interfax reported.
S7 Group bid 1.13 billion rubles ($36.5 million), 11 million rubles more than the minimum price.
Before the auction, S7 Group held about 70 percent in S7 Airlines.
Meanwhile, the government is considering merging S7 Airlines with Aeroflot, Vedomosti reported Wednesday, citing government sources.
A Vedomosti source said then that if the bids for the government’s stake in S7 Airlines were too low, it could be transferred to a state-run company, Aeroflot or Rostec.
Natalya Filyova told Vedomosti that she saw the discussions on merging S7 Airlines and Aeroflot as “blackmail on the part of the government.”
In an interview with television channel Rossia 24 on Wednesday, Aeroflot CEO Vitaly Savelyev said Aeroflot had not received any offers to merge with any of its competitors. He said the state-run airline’s management remains rather skeptical about merger and acquisition deals.
“Aeroflot hasn’t received any official proposals,” Savelyev said.
He added that mergers “have their pluses and a lot of minuses.”
“We have a vital need to expand our presence, but that doesn’t at all mean that we have to frantically merge with everybody,” he said.
The government owns 51.7 percent of Aeroflot, but this year that stake might be diluted to 50 percent plus one share because of a share issue.