Deloitte emailed bidders on Sunday afternoon to tell them it could be another 24 hours before a shortlist for the competitive auction’s third and final round would be ready.

It is understood Deloitte, advised by Morgan Stanley and Houlihan Lokey, spent the weekend in back and forth negotiations with Virgin’s four shortlisted bidders (and a fifth, Brookfield, which was trying to re-enter the race).
Sources said Deloitte’s camp was very focused on each bidder’s business plan, and went back to potential buyers for clarification on numerous points.
Deloitte was also seeking to determine how conditional each bid was likely to be and the certainty of its funding arrangements. Deloitte did not want to tap a bidder for the final round – or exclusive talks afterwards – only to see its offer fall apart as talks heated up.
Deloitte received the round of bids on Friday. The administrator had been seeking to nominate two of the bidders for the final fortnight of due diligence, before tapping one of them for exclusive talks and to finalise an agreement that could be put to creditors.
It remains to be seen whether Deloitte can cut the list of five (including Brookfield) down to two. Bidders are likely to be angry if it is three or more, given the costs involved in diligence and the intensity of the process to date.
The bidder list comprises local private equity outfit BGH Capital, American low-cost carrier investor Indigo Partners, airline investor Cyrus Capital Partners and international private equity behemoth Bain Capital.