Westjet has been told Canada’s Transport Minister will not review a proposed takeover by Onex Corporation, a large private equity firm.
Onex has proposed buying all the shares of Westjet, including its regional Encore arm and low-cost division Swoop, and taking the company private.
Under Canadian law, the Transport Minister has the authority to review such takeovers to make sure they are in the public interest, but in declining to do so, has effectively given his blessing to the Onex deal.
“We welcome the decision by the Minister of Transport,” said Westjet President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Sims in a statement, “and we will continue to cooperate with the necessary authorities on the remaining regulatory approvals.”
The Commissioner of Competition and the Canadian Transportation Agency will have a say before the deal gets final approval.
A special meeting of shareholders has been called for July 23 to approve the deal, it will then head for final approval by the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench.