Saudi and French Funds to Acquire 38% Stake in Heathrow Airport
Saudi and French Funds to Acquire 38% Stake in Heathrow Airport

Madrid: Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund and a French private equity group are set to acquire a 38% stake in Heathrow Airport, as announced by the airport's largest shareholder on Friday. Heathrow, one of the world's busiest airports, is primarily owned by the consortium FGP Topco Limited, with Spanish infrastructure giant Ferrovial holding a leading 25% stake.

In November, Ferrovial revealed plans to sell its share, with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) slated to acquire 10% and French private equity group Ardian taking 15%. However, a group of smaller FGP Topco shareholders invoked "tag-along rights," demanding to sell their shares under the same conditions.

"Ardian and PIF have made a revised offer to acquire shares representing 37.62% of FGP Topco's share capital for £3.3 billion ($4.1 billion)," Ferrovial stated, confirming acceptance of the bid. Following further negotiations, Ardian will acquire approximately 22.6% of the shares, while PIF will take 15%.

Ferrovial, a specialist in transport infrastructure management, operates a vast portfolio of global assets, including airport interests in Turkey and New York. Heathrow was not considered a core asset by Ferrovial. The company acquired its stake in Heathrow through a 2006 takeover, initially holding 56% before gradually reducing its interest.

Chaired by Rafael Del Pino, the third richest man in Spain with a fortune of $6.1 billion according to Forbes, Ferrovial initially planned to sell its entire stake in FGP Topco. However, due to the intervention of smaller shareholders, the strategy was adjusted, and Ferrovial will retain a 5.25% holding.

The deal is still subject to regulatory approval, according to Ferrovial. The company also owns a 50% stake in three other UK airports—Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Southampton—as well as a 60% stake in Turkey's Dalaman Airport and a 49% stake in the new Terminal 1 at JFK Airport in New York.

Last year, Ferrovial relocated its headquarters to the Netherlands, a move that sparked controversy with the Spanish government. The company cited access to cheaper credit and increased attractiveness to investors ahead of a planned US stock listing as reasons for the move.

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