Although Virgin Australia Holdings administrator Deloitte has said that the sale of the company to Bain Capital had secured Virgin’s future and was subject only to “minimal conditions”, court documents reveal that the transaction is still conditional and may yet be terminated, the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported on July 7.

Details of the June 26 deal remain shrouded in secrecy, such as how many of the 9,000 employees at Virgin Australia (VA, Brisbane Int'l) will lose their jobs and how much the private equity firm will pay creditors, who are owed around AUD6.8 billion Australian dollars (USD4.7 billion).

On July 6, the Australian Takeovers Panel government authority said it had received an application from two of Virgin's biggest bondholders - Singapore’s Broad Peak Investment Advisers and Hong Kong’s Tor Investment Management - asking it to intervene in the deal. Some 6,000 unsecured bondholders are owed AUD2 billion (USD1.38 billion).

The bondholders argued that "certain circumstances regarding the process conducted by the administrators are unacceptable", the panel said. They are also seeking interim orders allowing them to access information such as the terms of the Bain transaction.

The Takeovers Panel - made up of lawyers and business figures - has not commented on whether or not it will act on the application of the bondholders. The move bypasses a series of rulings in the Federal Court of Australia, which has so far approved of Deloitte’s conduct of the sale. However, documents filed at the court also say that a “significant number of steps” and conditions are still needed before the transaction can be completed.

The administrators “strongly believe this action is without merit and they will present information to the panel as required to refute all claims made by the applicants,” a Deloitte spokesman said. “Further details of the sale will be made available in the administrators’ report to creditors before the next meeting of creditors, currently expected to be held by the end of August 2020.”

The Bain deal is also facing a further legal obstacle, with US financial services group Wells Fargo Trustees and Florida-based lessor Willis Lease Finance filing action at the federal court last week. Willis and its trustee Wells Fargo demand the return of four jet engines used in four different B737s, engine stands, and other equipment to monitor engine maintenance to the applicants at Fort Lauderdale Int'l, no later than July 31.