Sydney Airport sale a step closer

A sale of Australia's biggest airport edged closer on Monday (September 13).

Infrastructure investor group Sydney Aviation Alliance sweetened its takeover offer to $17.4 billion.

And now has the green light to conduct due diligence on Sydney Airport Holdings.

The move sent the airport's shares up 5%.

Analysts say a rival bid appeared unlikely given the scale of the funding needed.

As well as foreign ownership rules that mean the airport must remain 51% Australian owned.

Sydney Airport is Australia's only listed airport operator.

A purchase would be a long-term bet on the travel sector, which has been battered by the global health crisis.

The country plans to gradually open its borders once 80% of adults are fully vaccinated, a milestone expected by the end of the year.

A successful takeover would be among the largest buyouts ever of an Australian firm, and underline a year of stellar deal activity.

The improved offer is an increase of 3.6% over prior proposals from the consortium, both of which were rejected as inadequate.

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