Canadian airline WestJet has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Onex Corporation.
Under the terms of the all-cash transaction, the organisation will acquire all outstanding shares in WestJet for $31 each.
Following the deal, which is expected to close later this year or in early 2020, WestJet will operate as a privately-held company.
The purchase price represents a 63 per cent premium to WestJet’s 20-day volume-weighted average trading price.
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 founder.
“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.”
The investment will be led by Onex Partners, Onex’ private equity platform focused on larger investment opportunities.
“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.
“WestJet is renowned internationally for its unparalleled guest experience and employee culture.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with WestJetters and continuing this remarkable Canadian success story,” said Tawfiq Popatia, a managing director at Onex.