Competition Bureau okays Westjet takeover


Canada’s Competition Bureau has given its approval to Westjet’s takeover by Onex Corporation, leaving only a few regulatory hurdles for the purchase to become official.

The Bureau issued what’s called a no action letter Tuesday.

Westjet shareholders, the courts, and Canada’s Transport Minister have already approved the deal.

Onex is in the process of buying all of Westjet’s shares in a $5 billion deal that will see Canada’s second-largest airline go private, likely by year’s end.

Westjet executives say the move will make it easier to plan for the airline’s future – including that of its Encore and Swoop subsidiaries – because it won’t have to impress the stock market in its quarterly returns. Chief executive Ed Sims says Onex agrees with Westjet’s overall strategy, which includes building hubs in Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver, and establishing a cross-border joint venture with Delta Air Lines, while laying the groundwork for larger European operations.

“Receiving unconditional approval from the Canadian Competition Bureau is another important step on our path to closing the transaction,” said Sims. “We continue to engage with the relevant authorities on the remaining approvals.”

Onex was created in 1984 and manages investments worth about $39 billion.