Minister of Transport OKs Onex’s $3.5 bln WestJet buyout

Onex Corp has received approval from the federal Minister of Transport to acquire Calgary-based carrier WestJet Airlines Ltd (TSX: WJA).

Last month, the Canadian private equity firm offered to buy WestJet, Canada’s second-largest carrier, for $31 per share. The deal is valued at $3.5 billion, or $5 billion including debt.

The Minister of Transport concluded the acquisition “does not raise public interest issues as related to national transportation,” WestJet said.

The deal remains subject to other regulatory approvals, approval by WestJet shareholders, and final approval by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.

PRESS RELEASE

WestJet announces first regulatory approval in its proposed acquisition by Onex

CALGARY, June 24, 2019 /CNW/ – WestJet Airlines Ltd. (TSX: WJA) (“WestJet”) announced that Onex Corporation (TSX: ONEX) (“Onex”) has received approval from the Minister of Transport (Canada) on the basis that the proposed acquisition of WestJet by Onex does not raise public interest issues as related to national transportation.

WestJet and Onex entered into a definitive agreement on May 12, 2019, for the proposed acquisition of WestJet by Onex under a plan of arrangement pursuant to which each outstanding share of WestJet will be exchanged for $31.00 in cash (the “Arrangement”).

Receipt of the Minister of Transport’s approval is one of the conditions to closing of the Arrangement.

Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO said, “We welcome the decision by the Minister of Transport, and we will continue to cooperate with the necessary authorities on the remaining regulatory approvals.”

The Arrangement is still subject to other conditions to closing including other regulatory approvals, approval by the securityholders of WestJet at a special meeting to be held on July 23, 2019 and final approval of the Arrangement by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.

Further information regarding the Arrangement is provided in WestJet’s management information circular in respect of the special securityholders meeting. Assuming the approval of the Arrangement by WestJet’s securityholders and the timely receipt of regulatory approvals, the transaction is expected to close in the latter part of 2019.

About WestJet
Together with WestJet’s regional airline, WestJet Encore, we offer scheduled service to more than 100 destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe and to more than 175 destinations in over 20 countries through our airline partnerships. WestJet Vacations offers affordable, flexible vacations to more than 60 destinations and the choice of more than 800 hotels, resorts, condos and villas. Members of the WestJet Rewards program earn WestJet dollars on flights, vacation packages and more. Members use WestJet dollars towards the purchase of flights and vacations packages to any WestJet destination with no blackout periods, and have access to Member Exclusive fares offering deals to WestJet destinations throughout our network and those of our partner airlines.

WestJet is proud to be recognized as Best Airline in Canada and Travellers’ Choice winner – North America for 2017 and 2018 in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for Airlines. The airline was also named the Travellers’ Choice Winner – Economy, North America, 2018. All awards are based on authentic reviews from the travelling public on TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site. We are one of very few airlines globally that does not commercially overbook.

WestJet is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) under the symbol WJA. For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com.

Recent recognition includes:
2019/2018/2017 Best Airline in Canada (TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for Airlines)
2019 Winner Among Mid-Sized Airlines in North America (TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for Airlines)
2018/2017 Winner Among Mid-Sized and Low Cost Airlines – North America (TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for Airlines)
2018 Winner – Economy, North America (TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for Airlines)
2018 Number-One-Ranked Airline Credit Card in Canada (Rewards Canada)
2018 North America’s Best Low-Cost Airline (Skytrax)
2018/2017/2016 Canada’s Most Trusted Airline (Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria)

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For further information: Jeff Hagen, Investor Relations, Tel: 1-877-493-7853, Email: jeff.hagen@westjet.com; For media inquiries please contact WestJet media relations at media@westjet.com. Further information regarding the Special Meeting can be obtained from Laurel Hill Canada, information and proxy solicitation agent for the Special Meeting: Laurel Hill Advisory Group, North American Tel: 1-877-452-7184, Collect: 1-416-304-0211, Email: assistance@laurelhill.com