By Eric Atkins, Transportation Reporter, The Globe and Mail – 26 June 2019
Transat AT Inc.’s share price jumped past $14 on Wednesday, the day Air Canada’s exclusive talks to buy the airline and travel operator expired. The two companies have in been in negotiations for 30 days for a takeover that would merge Canada’s largest and third-largest airlines at $13 a share, or $520-million.
Transat shares closed at $14.19 Wednesday as investors signalled their belief that Air Canada – or another buyer – will pay more than that.
Montreal real estate developer Groupe Mach has proposed buying Transat for $14 a share, and on Tuesday positioned itself as a more credible bidder by dropping a condition that it receive $120-million in financing from the province of Quebec.
Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec’s Economy Minister, said on Wednesday the provincial government’s finance arm, Investissement Quebec, would provide some support to Mach, provided Mach finds another partner.
“I’d rather not disclose how much we agreed to but we said no to the [entire $120-million] amount,” Mr. Fitzgibbon said.
At least two large Transat investors have said they will oppose a sale at $13 a share.
With files from Nicolas Van Praet