Macquarie, Malaysia Airports and a partnership between Manchester Airports Group (MAG) and Australia’s Industry Funds Management tabled final round of bids for London’s Stansted airport on Wednesday, in a deal that is likely to value it at about £1bn.
A decision to sell the airport could come as early as this week, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.
Stansted, London’s third-largest airport, was put up for sale over the summer after owner Heathrow airport Holdings – formerly known as BAA –was ordered to sell three of its airports following a three-year battle with the Competition Commission.
The consortium led by MAG, which owns Manchester, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports, is regarded as a favourite to win the auction, the report said.
Under the terms of their partnership deal, Industry Funds Management will buy 35 per cent of MAG’s equity and get half its voting rights should the pair clinch the deal, the report added.
Deutsche Bank and ING are advising Stansted’s owners on the sale.
In October last year TPG Capital emerged as the sole private equity bidder for Stansted, a deal that would have brought the US buyout giant back to its roots after buying Continental Airlines out of bankruptcy in 1993.
Regulated airports such as Stansted are a rare prize and appeal to investors looking for safe, inflation-pegged returns, the report added.
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