TRAVEL NEWS | WEST JET SOLD
The Calgary based airline, who was approached by the Onex Corp, a Toronto-based company, in March has now been sold, which came as a surprise since WestJet was not looking to sell, and Onex was not looking to purchase. Sold for $5 billion including the debt, West Jet will operate privately as of late 2019 to early 2020,. With the new agreement Onex will pay $31 per share, or $3.5 billion, for WestJet.
WestJet’s board of directors advised the shareholders with a unanimous recommendation to vote for the sale of the company. Upon completion of the transaction, it is subject to a number of conditions, including court, regulatory, and shareholder approvals. Prior to closing of the deal, another special meeting of shareholders is expected to take place in July 2019. The approval under the Canada Transportation Act involves a determination by the Minister of Transport which entails an assessment of the public interest as it relates to national transportation.
“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. 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’s 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,” said Clive Beddoe, WestJet’s Founder and Chairman, in a statement.
Calgary’s mayor, Naheed Nenshi said, "Private equity firms buy companies for one of three reasons: cut costs, grow the business, or restructure the industry. Which is it? And they said they are entirely focused on growth, and that's good news for WestJet, and it's good news for Calgary.”
There is no expectation that anyone will be loosing their jobs due to this acquisition. The union chair Captain Dave Colquhoun said, "Things that are important to us are, you know, to make sure that agreement that we have right now remains in force. And we've been told that it will," he said. "We don't anticipate that they're going to change the strategy that our company's already embarked on."
Tawfiq Popatia, a managing Director at Onex said, “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.”
The Luxe and Lavish Travels Team