WestJet Airlines Ltd. has entered into a definitive agreement that provides for its acquisition in an all-cash transaction.
Under the terms of the agreement, Onex Corporation and its affiliated funds will acquire all outstanding shares of WestJet for $31.00 per share, after which WestJet will operate as a privately-held company. The purchase price represents a 67 per cent premium to Friday's closing share price and a 63 per cent premium to WestJet's 20-day volume-weighted average trading price.
$5 billion transaction
The transaction value is approximately $5 billion including assumed debt.
"Since our first flight in 1996, WestJet has been singularly focused on providing better options for the Canadian travelling public and this transaction retains that commitment," said Clive Beddoe, WestJet's Founder and Chairman. "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."
Ed Sims, WestJet's President and CEO added: "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."
The investment will be led by Onex Partners, Onex' private equity platform focused on larger investment opportunities.
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