Sydney Airport signs $17.5 billion buyout deal, continues to recommend offer

(Reuters) – Sydney Airport Holdings entered a scheme implementation deed for an infrastructure group to buy the airport operator for A$23.6 billion ($17.46 billion), it said on Monday, making it one of the biggest buyouts ever in Australia.

Sydney Airport’s board said in a statement that it unanimously recommended the buyout offer from Sydney Aviation Alliance (SAA), and would hold a scheme meeting in the first quarter of 2022.

“The Sydney Airport Boards believe the outcome reflects appropriate long-term value for the airport, and unanimously recommend the proposal to securityholders,” Chairman David Gonski said.

The deal is conditional on an independent expert’s report, approval from 75% of the airport operator’s shareholders, as well as a green light from the competition regulator and the Foreign Investment Review Board, a process that could take months to complete.

The deed also makes a provision of reimbursement fees of A$150 million, in case it is terminated by any of the parties.

In September, the sale of Australia’s biggest airport operator moved closer after the bidding consortium, SAA, won permission to conduct due diligence after sweetening its takeover offer to A$23.6 billion.

SAA is comprised of Australian investors IFM Investors, QSuper and AustralianSuper and U.S.-based Global Infrastructure Partners.

($1 = 1.3517 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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