Onex To Acquire WestJet Airlines
Private equity investor Onex will acquire WestJet Airlines in an all cash offer worth around CAD$5 billion (USD$3.7 billion) including debt.
Onex and its affiliates will acquire all outstanding shares of WestJet for CAD$31 per share, a 67 percent premium to last week's closing price, and a 63 percent premium to the airline's 20-day volume-weighted average trading price.
The Canadian airline will be operated as a privately-held company, headquartered in Calgary.
“We are delighted to continue the journey of building an airline based on a growing network, providing competitive airfares and more choice to, from and within Canada, for communities large and small. Integral to this relationship is a commitment to our employees, and our unique ownership-driven culture,” WestJet's chief executive Ed Sims said.
Onex made the initial approach in March 2019, with the airline setting up a committee of independent directors to supervise negotiations. The committee subsequently recommended the transaction to the WestJet board, who are recommending shareholders vote to accept the offer.
“I am particularly pleased that WestJet will remain headquartered in Calgary and will continue to build on the success that our 14,000 WestJetters have created,” WestJet Founder Clive Beddoe said.
“Onex's aerospace experience, history of positive employee relations and long-term orientation makes it an ideal partner for WestJetters, and I am excited about our future,” Beddoe added.
The takeover is subject to a number of conditions, including court, shareholder and regulatory approvals.