Wizz Air’s offer was rejected, of course, but £1.2bn rights issue hardly put fizz back into shares

The pandemic has transformed the airline industry in unexpected ways: Wizz Air, whose shares have recovered all the altitude lost in the early months of lockdown, is now bigger in stock market terms than easyJet. The latter’s shares are stuck at half their old level and £3.25bn valuation now compares with £5bn for Wizz.

The position is quite a come-down for easyJet, and Wizz’s cheeky takeover bid, one suspects, will have come as a blow to the corporate ego. It had to be rejected, of course, because it would have been an act of desperation to contemplate an all-share deal on “low premium” terms at today’s valuation. Life is tough for easyJet, a UK-skewed operator more exposed than most to UK travel restrictions and the absurd price of PRC tests, but this is not a moment to give up.

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