Sydney Airport agrees to $17.5 billion buyout deal

FAN Editor
Sydney drops quarantine for Australian travellers for first time in pandemic
FILE PHOTO: International travellers arrives at Sydney Airport in the wake of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) border restrictions easing, with fully vaccinated Australians being allowed into Sydney from overseas without quarantine for the first time since March 2020, in Sydney, Australia, November 1, 2021. REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

November 7, 2021

SYDNEY (Reuters) -Sydney Airport Holdings said on Monday it has agreed to accept a A$23.6 billion ($17.46 billion) takeover bid from an infrastructure investor group in one of Australia’s biggest ever buyouts.

The board of country’s biggest airport said in a statement that it unanimously recommended the buyout offer from Sydney Aviation Alliance (SAA), comprised of Australian investors IFM Investors, QSuper and AustralianSuper and U.S.-based Global Infrastructure Partners.

“The Sydney Airport Boards believe the outcome reflects appropriate long-term value for the airport, and unanimously recommend the proposal to securityholders,” Chairman David Gonski said.

A scheme implementation deed had been made on Monday and a scheme meeting would take place in January, the company said.

The deal to buy Australia’s only listed airport operator comes as the country this month eased its international border restrictions for the first since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

It follows a sweetened offer by SAA of A$8.75 a share in September, 3.6% higher than its first approach, that convinced the company’s board to give the consortium access to due diligence.

The deal is conditional on an independent expert’s report, approval from 75% of the airport operator’s shareholders and a green light from the competition regulator and the Foreign Investment Review Board.

“We look forward to securityholders voting on the proposed deal,” SAA said in a statement.

“Our alliance represents many millions of Australians … and we intend to work hard to bring more flights and passengers back to the airport as the aviation industry emerges from COVID-19.”

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is investigating the transaction’s impact on competition, including the impact of the consortium’s ownership of multiple airports in the country. It is due to release its findings on Dec. 16.

($1 = 1.3517 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Paulina Duran in Sydney and Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney and Richard Pullin)

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