WestJet sale to Onex clears another hurdle

Calgary-based WestJet Airlines Ltd. has announced that Canada’s Competition Bureau has granted unconditional approval for WestJet’s proposed sale to Onex Corp. by issuing a no-action letter.

Ed Sims
Ed Sims

“Receiving unconditional approval from the Canadian Competition Bureau is another important step on our path to closing the transaction. We continue to engage with the relevant authorities on the remaining approvals,” said Ed Sims, WestJet’s president and chief executive officer, in a news release.

The transaction is still subject to other conditions to closing, including receipt of the remaining regulatory approvals.

In July, WestJet said its shareholders and option holders overwhelmingly voted to approve its previously announced proposed sale to Onex.

More than 92.5 per cent of shareholders and option holders who voted at a special meeting were in favour of the proposed transaction that’s worth about $5 billion, including assumed debt.

The total number of shares represented by shareholders present and by proxy at the meeting was 69.2 million, representing approximately 60 per cent of WestJet’s issued and outstanding common voting shares and variable voting shares. The total number of stock options represented by option holders present and by proxy at the meeting was 3.3 million, representing approximately 54 per cent of WestJet’s issued and outstanding stock options, said the company.

In the deal, Onex and its affiliated funds will acquire all outstanding shares of WestJet for $31 each, after which WestJet will operate as a privately-held company.

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.

In total, 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. Onex Credit manages primarily non-investment grade debt through collateralized loan obligations, private debt and other credit strategies.

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