International Airlines Group has acquired a 4.61 per cent minority ownership position in Norwegian Air Shuttle.
The group – which owns British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia – said it considers the low-cost airline to be an “attractive investment” opportunity.
The minority investment is intended to establish a position from which to initiate discussions with Norwegian, including the possibility of a full offer for Norwegian.
IAG said it had noted recent press speculation that it is considering making an offer for Norwegian.
However, no discussions have taken place to date, IAG said.
“IAG has taken no decision to make an offer at this time and that there is no certainty that any such decision will be made,” the airline group reiterated in a statement.
A further announcement will be made if appropriate, the statement added.
Norwegian is a listed company on the Oslo Stock Exchange and is the sixth largest low-cost airline in the world.
It currently operates around 500 routes to 150 destinations in Europe, North Africa, Middle East, Thailand, Caribbean, the United States and South America.
A statement from Norwegian said: “Norwegian has just been made aware that the International Airline Group has acquired of 4.6 per cent of the shares in Norwegian Air Shuttle.
“Norwegian had no prior knowledge of this acquisition before it was reported by the media mid-morning Thursday.
“Norwegian has not been in any discussions or dialogue with IAG about the matter.
“Norwegian believes that interest from one of the largest international aviation groups demonstrates the sustainability and potential of our business model and global growth.”