WestJet says it has agreed to be acquired by Onex Corporation and will become a private company in a deal valued at $5 billion. 

Under the agreement announced Monday, Onex will pay $31 per share for WestJet.

Shares in the airline closed at $18.52 on Friday.

Completion of the transaction is subject to a number of conditions, including court, regulatory and shareholder approvals.

“I am particularly pleased that WestJet will remain headquartered in Calgary and will continue to build on the success that our 14,000 WestJetters have created,” said Clive Beddoe, WestJet’s founder and chairman in a news release.  

“Onex’ aerospace experience, history of positive employee relations and long-term orientation makes it an ideal partner for WestJetters, and I am excited about our future.”

The deal comes after Onex approached the airline in March.

“WestJet is one of Canada’s strongest brands and we have tremendous respect for the business that Clive Beddoe and all WestJetters have built over the years,” said Tawfiq Popatia, a managing director at Onex.

WestJet’s board of directors has unanimously recommended shareholders vote in favour of the deal at meeting expected to be held in July.

The deal is expected to close in the latter part of 2019 or early 2020.

More to come.

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