Calgary-based WestJet Airlines Ltd. says Onex Corp. has received approval from the federal minister of Transport to acquire WestJet provided the acquisition doesn’t raise public issues related to national transportation.
It was announced in May that WestJet was being sold to Onex in a deal that is worth about $5 billion, including assumed debt. The sale is subject to shareholder approval. In the all-cash transaction, Onex and its affiliated funds will acquire all outstanding shares of WestJet for $31 per share, after which WestJet will operate as a privately-held company.
WestJet said receipt of the minister’s approval is one of the conditions to closing of the transaction.
“We welcome the decision by the minister of Transport, and we will continue to co-operate with the necessary authorities on the remaining regulatory approvals,” said Ed Sims, WestJet president and CEO.
The airline said the deal is still subject to other conditions to closing, including other regulatory approvals, approval by the security holders of WestJet at a special meeting to be held on July 23 and final approval by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.
Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Canada, Onex manages and invests capital in its private equity and credit platforms on behalf of investors from around the world. Onex has US$31 billion of assets under management, including US$6.6 billion of shareholder capital.
Onex invests through its two private equity platforms, Onex Partners for larger transactions and ONCAP for middle market and smaller transactions, and Onex Credit which manages primarily non-investment grade debt through collateralized loan obligations, private debt and other credit strategies.
Founded in 1996, WestJet is Canada’s second largest airline. It has more than 13,000 employees and moved more than 2.5 million passengers in 2018. It serves destinations in Canada, the United States, Europe, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.