Canadian airline WestJet has announced it is to be acquired by Toronto based investment fund Onex Corporation.
The second largest airline in the country, WestJet will be acquired for CA$31 per share, meaning the transaction will come in at roughly CA$5bn (US$3.71bn). The board say that they have unanimously agreed to the deal, and have recommended shareholders vote for the deal in a special meeting that is to be convened.
That vote is one of a number of hurdles that need to be overcome before the deal officially goes through, both inside and outside of the company. These include gaining court approval as well as gaining official government approval under the Canada Transportation Act. The company says that assuming the timely receipt of regulatory approvals, they expect the transaction to go through in the latter part of 2019 or early 2020.
WestJet’s founder and Chairman, Clive Beddoe, said: "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. Onex' 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."
Tawfiq Popatia, a Managing Director at Onex, said “WestJet is one of Canada's strongest brands and we have tremendous respect for the business that Clive Beddoe and all WestJetters have built over the years.” They continued by saying “we're thrilled to be partnering with WestJetters and continuing this remarkable Canadian success story."
WestJet trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “WJA”, as does Onex as “ONEX”.