The board of Sydney Airport has agreed to sell to a consortium led by Melbourne-based IFM Investors for A$23.6bn (US$17.5bn) in one of Australia’s biggest ever deals.
The sale comes just as travel in the country begins to restart after more than one-and-a-half years of essentially closed borders.
The consortium, known as Sydney Aviation Alliance, offered A$8.75 per share, a 6.3 per cent premium to the closing price on Friday. Sydney Airport shares have jumped more than 40 per cent since the consortium made its first offer in early July.
On Friday, Alan Joyce, chief executive of Qantas, Australia’s flag carrier, said that the company had received 25 times as many passenger bookings in the previous two weeks than it had in a similar period in August.
The airline also announced plans in October to call all 11,000 of its stood-down staff back to work, and resume service on some international routes in the coming months.
The IFM-led consortium initially bid A$8.25 per share for the airport in July, followed by a sweetened offer of $8.45 in August. The current, higher bid was made in September, when the airport agreed to grant the consortium four weeks to conduct due diligence.
The takeover will be subject to a shareholder vote, expected to take place in the first quarter of next year. Shares in the airport rose as much as 3 per cent on Monday.