Sydney Airport signs a $17.5 billion buyout deal

Sydney Airport signs a $17.5 billion buyout deal

November 9, 2021: -On Monday, Sydney Airport Holdings said it has agreed to accept a A$23.6 billion takeover bid from an infrastructure investor group in one of Australia’s biggest buyouts.

The company said in a statement it unanimously recommended the buyout offer from Sydney Aviation Alliance, comprised of Australian investors IFM Investors, QSuper, AustralianSuper, and U.S.-based Global Infrastructure Partners.

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

The company said that a scheme implementation deed had been done on Monday, and a scheme meeting would take place in January.

It follows a sweetened offer by SAA 6% higher than its first approach at A$8.25, which convinced the board to give the consortium access to due diligence.

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

The deal is set on an independent expert’s report, approval from 75% of the airport operator’s shareholders, and a green light from competition regulators and the Foreign Investment Review Board. This process takes months to complete.

“We look forward to security holders voting on the proposed deal,” IFM Investors Chief Executive David Neal said in a statement on behalf of the consortium.

“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 consortium’s ownership of multiple airports in the country. It is due to release its findings on Dec.16.

IFM Investors own large stakes in airports in other Australian state capitals, including Brisbane and Melbourne.

RBC Capital analysts said the “unanimous” recommendation of the board had “capped” the potential share price appreciation, which was 2.67% higher on Monday at $8.45.

The agreement imposes “no shop, no talk” obligations on Sydney Airport and allows SAA to match any potential superior proposal, the company said. It includes a A$150 million break-fee payable if either party terminates the deal.

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Sydney Airport signs a $17.5 billion buyout deal