STOCKHOLM, SVEDEN — US asset manager Apollo Global Management intends to seek approval from Swedish and Danish regulators to acquire a majority stake in SAS Scandinavian Airlines as part of the airline's rescue plan, an anonymous source told Reuters. 

SAS saw a 60% decrease in value after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July 2022, following unsuccessful wage negotiations with pilots. A partnership with Apollo, which has invested in US and Mexican airlines, would challenge European Union (EU) regulations on foreign ownership, which stipulate that non-EU investment in an EU airline must not exceed 49%.

The source explained that Apollo expects to receive approval for the deal, as much of its capital comes from European investors. While no final decision has been made on a potential investment, one source suggested a deal could be finalized before year-end.

Apollo is set to collaborate with aviation regulators in Sweden and Denmark to secure approval, while the European Commission will also be involved. As part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan, SAS is seeking large investors and raising equity, having already obtained a $700 million debtor-in-possession loan from Apollo, which could be converted to equity.

Any agreement with Apollo would likely necessitate support from Sweden and Denmark, which each own approximately 22% of SAS, with private shareholders controlling the remaining shares. Denmark's finance ministry has expressed interest in finding one or more shareholders to take a majority stake in SAS, while Sweden has stated it will not inject further cash into the airline.

The sources assured that SAS would retain its Scandinavian identity, dismissing rumors of a new hub or transformation into a low-cost carrier under new ownership. Apollo's previous investments in Sun Country Airlines and Aeroméxico demonstrate its flexibility in long-term investments, according to the sources.