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Onex and WestJet:
Local and global fall-out — May 2019

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In May Onex, a private equity fund, made a successful bid for WestJet, offering C$3.5bn (US$2.6bn), or C$31 per share, roughly 67% above the C$2.1bn that the Toronto stockmarket had been valuing the airline at for the past year. This is a development that will not only shake up the Canadian market but could have wider repercussions for international competition.

The transaction will not be completed until the end of this year, and needs to go through regulatory assessment, but it is difficult to see how any substantial objection could be made, given the Onex’s all-cash price and WestJet management’s fulsome welcome. Clive Beddoe, WestJet’s founder and chairman commented: “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.”


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