Canada’s second-largest airlines has announced its sale to a private-equity firm headquartered in Toronto.
Today (May 13), WestJet said it has “entered into a definitive agreement” with Onex Corporation for a deal valued at approximately $5 billion.
The sale is conditional and will have to clear regulatory hurdles before it is finalized but it has the unanimous support of WestJet’s board of directors, according to a company media release.
“Following an approach by Onex in March 2019, the WestJet board of directors formed a special committee of independent directors to provide the Board with its advice and recommendations with respect to the proposal from Onex and the transaction, and to supervise the negotiation of the terms and conditions of the transaction,” it reads. “The WestJet board of directors… determined that the transaction is in the best interests of WestJet and unanimously recommends that WestJet shareholders vote in favour of the transaction at the special meeting of shareholders to be held to approve the transaction.”
The release states that under Onex’s ownership, WestJet will operate as a privately-held company. Its headquarters will remain in Calgary.
The cash deal will see Onex pay $31 per share.
"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," WestJet founder and chairman Clive Beddoe said quoted in the release. “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."