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WestJet To Be Acquired By Onex In Deal Valued At C$5 Bln, Including Debt

WestJet Airlines Ltd. (WJA.TO) said Monday that it has agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Onex Corp. (ONEX.TO) in a transaction valued at about C$5 billion, including assumed debt.

Under the terms of the agreement, Onex and its affiliated funds will acquire all outstanding shares of WestJet for C$31.00 per share, after which WestJet will operate as a privately-held company. The purchase price represents a 67 percent premium to WestJet's closing share price on Friday.

The investment will be led by Onex Partners, Onex' private equity platform focused on larger investment opportunities. The transaction is to be completed by way of an arrangement under the Business Corporations Act (Alberta).

The transaction is expected to close in the latter part of 2019 or early 2020. However, its completion is subject to several conditions, including court and shareholder approval.

Clive Beddoe, WestJet's Founder and Chairman said, "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' 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."

WestJet said its board of directors, having received and considered the recommendation of a special committee, has determined that the transaction is in the best interests of WestJet.

The board has unanimously recommended that WestJet shareholders vote in favor of the transaction at a special meeting of shareholders to be held to approve the transaction.

WestJet said it expects to mail an information circular in late June 2019 for a special meeting of its shareholders expected to be held in July 2019 to approve the transaction.

Each of the directors and executive officers of WestJet has entered into a voting support agreement and committed to vote in favor of the transaction.

WestJet said it has received permission to continue to pay its regular quarterly cash dividend consistent with its dividend policy and past practice, until closing.

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