$500m sweetener for Sydney Airport bid as AustralianSuper enters the fold

$500m sweetener for Sydney Airport bid as AustralianSuper enters the fold

AustralianSuper has booked a seat for one of the country's biggest ever takeover attempts as the Sydney Airport (ASX: SYD) acquisition proposal rises to $22.8 billion, but the bidder's family is having trouble getting through security.

Last month the boards of Sydney Airport rejected an $8.25 per share offer from a consortium comprising IFM Investors, QSuper and Global Infrastructure Management, LLC, including a clause that substantial shareholder UniSuper would need to maintain its 15 per cent stake under the new ownership.

Their reasoning was the 'opportunistically timed' offer worth close to $8.3 billion undervalued the business in many ways, noting the share price was below levels traded before the pandemic but the asset remained "strategic and irreplaceable" as Australia's gateway to international travel.

AustralianSuper has now joined the consortium and the price has been lifted, but the boards of Sydney Airport still won't budge.

"The boards have carefully considered the revised indicative proposal, including obtaining advice from their financial and legal advisers," they said in a release to the ASX this morning.

"The boards have unanimously concluded that the revised indicative proposal continues to undervalue Sydney Airport and is not in the best interests of securityholders.

"In coming to this conclusion, the current environment does not change the Boards' view of the long term value."

The boards also highlighted the rapid increase and acceleration in Australian vaccination rates in recent weeks and governments' plans to progressively ease restrictions as the population reaches vaccination targets which will then see the re-opening of travel.

"Sydney Airport remains strongly positioned, has strengthened its balance sheet and tightly managed costs to maintain flexibility to respond to a range of recovery scenarios and to pursue sensible growth opportunities as the recovery unfolds," they said.

"At the current indicative price of A$8.45 per stapled security, the boards continue to view the revised indicative proposal as opportunistic in light of the COVID-19 pandemic."

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