Manchester Airport purchases Stansted for £1.5bn
Manchester Airport Group (MAG) has agreed to buy Stansted, the fourth biggest airport by passenger numbers in the UK, for £1.5 billion in cash.
Stansted will now be owned and operated by the Manchester Airport Group, whose majority shareholders are the ten councils of Greater Manchester.
MAG’s partner in the acquisition Australia’s Industry Fund Management (IFM) will own 35.5% of the company with a 50% vote as part of the deal.
Stansted was put up for sale last August when, last year, the Competition Commission forced the divestment of British Airport Authority (BAA). The ruling was meant to force competition into the industry which previously had been held by BAA majority shareholder Ferrovial, the Spanish infrastructure company.
BAA was one of the largest transport companies in the world owning seven airports including Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, but on the commission’s insistence it will now only operate four.
The sale of Stansted will leave Heathrow Airport Holdings with Heathrow, Southampton, Aberdeen and Glasgow airports.
Heathrow Airport Holdings wished to hold Stansted, maintaining that Heathrow and Stansted served different markets, but did not challenge the commission’s ruling in the Supreme Court.
Colin Mathews, chief executive of Heathrow Airport, has stated that Stansted “has been named by passengers as ‘the world’s best airport for low-cost airlines’ for two consecutive years at the Skytrax World Airport Awards, and we are proud of its achievements.” “We wish the new owners every success and are confident the airport will continue to flourish.”
One of MAG’s shareholders, Sir Richard Leese, has said: “MAG is a key driver of jobs and growth in the north of England and the acquisition of Stansted will help us deliver maximum value for Manchester City Council and the other local authority shareholders.”
Deutsche Bank is advising Heathrow Airport Holdings, with JPMorgan Chase advising MAG, the sale is expected to close at the end of February ending the divestment of BAA.