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Shareholders accept $23.6bn bid for Sydney Airport

written by Adam Thorn | February 3, 2022

Qantas 737s parked at Sydney Airport, as shot by Victor Pody
Qantas 737s parked at Sydney Airport, as shot by Victor Pody.

Sydney Airport shareholders have voted overwhelmingly to accept a $23.6 billion takeover bid by a consortium of super funds and global investment partners.

The decision on Thursday means Australia’s busiest airport will be delisted from the ASX next week, with investors set to be paid out by 9 March.

The Sydney Aviation Alliance group – made up of IFM Investors, QSuper, AustralianSuper and Global Infrastructure Partners – had its first $22 billion offer in July 2021 rejected and branded “opportunistic” by the airport’s board.  However, a third bid worth $8.75 per share was ultimately accepted in November that year.

Results from Wednesday’s meeting showed 96 per cent of shareholders voted in favour, far over the 75 per cent required for the resolution to pass.

The move was widely expected given a number of proxy firms had already advised shareholders to accept the deal, which has also already been cleared by both the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Sydney Airport chairman David Gonski said the offer – the biggest all-cash deal in Australian corporate history – amounted to a significant premium and investors could avoid the dangers of competition from the new Western Sydney airport as well as future COVID waves.

“It is definitely not, in our view, a situation where an opportunity is being taken,” Gonski said. “One thinks just before the summer break in 2021 that things were coming good and look what happened.”

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IFM chief executive David Neal said, “Upon completion of the transaction, Sydney Airport will continue to be majority Australian owned, with millions of working Australians to be invested in Sydney Airport through their superannuation.”

The final step in the transaction will see a scheme of arrangement submitted to the NSW Supreme Court for approval on Wednesday, 9 February.

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