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'Neck and neck' between Condor and easyJet for Air Berlin assets

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'Neck and neck' between Condor and easyJet for Air Berlin assets

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BERLIN (Reuters) – Air Berlin <AB1.DE> is talking to both Britain’s easyJet <EZJ.L> and Thomas Cook’s <TCG.L> German airline Condor about a sale of its remaining assets, a spokesman for the insolvent airline said on Wednesday, with the race tight. “We’ll see who crosses the line first. It’s neck and neck,” he said, confirming a Reuters report from Tuesday. Air Berlin had been in exclusive talks with Lufthansa and easyJet, but while a deal was agreed with Lufthansa for large parts of its business, talks with easyJet continued over the weekend and no agreement has yet been reached. Condor had initially expressed interest in Air Berlin when it filed for insolvency back in August, but the creditors selected Lufthansa and easyJet for exclusive talks. Time is ticking for a deal to be done, with the last Air Berlin flight due to take place on Friday. Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr earlier on Wednesday said it would look better to have a second or third partner take some Air Berlin assets. Lufthansa is set to face European Commission scrutiny over the deal, which will see it take on operations comprising 81 planes, and is likely to have to give up some routes to appease anti-trust concerns.

(Reporting by Klaus Lauer; Additional reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Maria Sheahan)
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