Sydney Airport agrees to $17.5B buyout, one of Australia’s biggest to date

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Sydney Airport Holdings, which owns 100% interest in Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD), announced on November 8, 2021, that it has agreed to accept a $17.5 billion (A$23.6 billion) takeover bid from a group of investors.

In a statement, the company said that it unanimously recommended the buyout offer from Sydney Aviation Alliance (SAA), which is composed of Australian investors IFM Investors, QSuper, AustralianSuper and U.S.-based Global Infrastructure Partners.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the SAA consortium commenced on October 7, 2021. The consortium had previously made offers of $6.06 (A$8.25) and $6.21 (A$8.45), both of which were rejected by Sydney Airport. The airport’s board accepted an offer of A$8.75 per share. 

​​A scheme implementation deed was made on November 8, 2021, and a scheme meeting is set to take place in January 2022, Sydney Airport Holdings said.

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of months of engagement between all parties,” Sydney Airport Chairman David Gonski said in the statement.

“The Sydney Airport Boards believe the outcome reflects appropriate long-term value for the airport, and unanimously recommend the proposal to security holders, subject to customary conditions such as independent expert approval and no superior proposal.”

The agreement will need to clear several more hurdles before it can be completed, including an independent report on the takeover, and an ACCC investigation into the transaction’s impact on competition, and the effects of ownership of multiple airports in the country. ACCC is due to release its findings on December 16, 2021.

SYD is Australia’s biggest airport operator and the deal announcement came shortly after the country reopened its borders to international travel. If the deal is completed, it will be one of Australia’s biggest ever buyouts.

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