Sydney Airport has received a third proposal to acquire the ASX-listed company from a consortium of infrastructure investors.
The revised offer by the ‘Sydney Aviation Alliance’ has a higher price of $8.75 per stapled security for Sydney Airport, valuing the company at $23.6 billion – up from the sweetened $22.8 billion bid that was knocked back last month.
In a statement to shareholders on Monday, Sydney Airport said it intends to grant the consortium the opportunity to conduct due diligence on a non-exclusive basis to enable it to put forward a binding proposal.
“That due diligence is expected to take four weeks from entry into the non-disclosure agreement,” the company said.
“Should the consortium make a binding offer at A$8.75 cash per stapled security then, subject to the parties entering into a binding scheme implementation agreement on terms acceptable to Sydney Airport (including as to the timeframe to implementation), and Sydney Airport having completed an assessment of the conditionality of the binding offer to its satisfaction, the current intention of the boards is to unanimously recommend that security holders vote in favour of the proposal in the absence of a superior proposal and subject to an independent expert concluding that the proposed transaction is in the best interests of Sydney Airport security holders.”
However, the competition watchdog has warned it will be having a close look at the deal if it comes to fruition, as the consortium is made up of super funds that already have significant stakes in other airports around the country.
Of particular concern to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is IFM, which already has a 25 per cent stake in Melbourne Airport, a 20 per cent stake in Brisbane Airport, a 13 per cent stake in Adelaide Airport, and a whopping 77 per cent stake in Darwin Airport.
ACCC chair Rod Sims said IFM’s ownership of other airports could push airline charges higher due to an inability to compare or “benchmark” fees, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
“We’ll lose that if they’re all under common ownership so, that’s something we’ll be looking at,” he said.