Air Canada In Exclusive Talks To Acquire Air Transat

Air Transat indicated this year that it was up for sale and made an announcement earlier this month that several parties had approached it

Air Transat

Air Canada has today reached an exclusive agreement to negotiate buying the airline’s parent. Air Canada will pay a fee to Air Transat if the purchase doesn’t go through due to regulator scrutiny.

CBC run a good piece (access here) about this intended purchase of which below is an excerpt:

According to company filings, Air Transat takes up about 20 per cent of the market for flights between Canada and Europe, and about 22 per cent of travel between Canada and sun destinations such as Mexico, Jamaica, the Caribbean and Central America.

CBC AIr Transat

Letting the biggest player, Air Canada, gobble up an even bigger chunk of those markets would certainly draw attention from Canada’s Competition Bureau — its mandate is to ensure takeovers don’t stifle the market for consumers.

RBC analyst Walter Spracklin says the deal makes a lot of sense from Air Canada’s perspective, since it would get to take out a competitor, boost its travel package business and buy the company’s fleet of ready-to-go jets in one fell swoop, at a time when it needs them because of the recent Boeing 737 Max groundings.

Here’s the announcement from Air Canada:

Combination of two Quebec-based travel leaders to benefit all stakeholders; Control of Transat A.T. Inc. to remain in Quebec

  • Purchase of all outstanding Transat A.T. Inc. shares at $13 per share, subject to confirmatory due diligence, regulatory and shareholder approvals and final documentation.
  • Combination of two respected Quebec-based aviation and travel brands to create Montreal-based global leader in leisure, tourism and travel distribution offering Canadians choices to more destinations and promoting two-way tourism.
  • Made-in-Quebec solution to maintain high-quality head office jobs and key functions in Montreal as well as provide a platform for future growth and employment.

MONTREAL, May 16, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada announced today that it has entered into an exclusive agreement with Transat A.T. Inc. (Transat) regarding the proposed purchase by Air Canada of all issued and outstanding shares of Transat and its combination with Air Canada. The proposed transaction, valued at approximately $520 million or $13.00 per share of Transat (on a fully-diluted basis), will create a Montreal-based global travel services company in leisure, tourism and travel distribution operating across Canada and internationally. Air Canada has all the necessary funding required to complete the transaction which is accordingly not subject to financing conditions.

“A combination with Transat represents a great opportunity for stakeholders of both companies.  This includes the shareholders of both Transat and Air Canada, employees of both companies, who will benefit from increased job security and growth prospects, and Canadian travellers, who will benefit from the merged company’s enhanced ability to participate as a leader in the highly competitive leisure travel market globally. The acquisition presents a unique opportunity to compete with the very best in the world when it comes to leisure travel. It will also allow us to further grow our hub at Montréal-Trudeau Airport, where we have added 35 new routes since 2012 to the benefit of the Montreal and Quebec communities, and from which we carried 10 million customers in 2018 alone,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive of Air Canada.

The transaction remains subject to the finalization of definitive agreements, confirmatory due diligence, regulatory and shareholder approvals and other closing conditions usual in this type of transaction. There is no assurance that the transaction will be completed as described in this news release or at all. No further announcements are expected to be made by Air Canada until the signature of the definitive agreements unless required by law. Air Canada has retained Morgan Stanley as its financial advisor.

Air Canada presence and investment in Montreal and the Province of Quebec.

Air Canada is proud to have been named one of Montreal’s top employers for each of the last six years. Headquartered in Montrealsince 1949, Air Canada maintains one of the largest global head offices in Quebec. Air Canada employs 36,000 employees globally, with close to 10,000 of those in the province of Quebec where it has created over 2,600 new jobs over the last five years. Air Canada’sExecutive Committee members (President and Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Vice-President, Operations) in addition to many other key members of the Executive Management team are all based in the Montreal Headquarters.

Air Canada serves 11 airports across Quebec. The international reach of Air Canada’s network makes Quebec a gateway to the world and is an important tool for economic development, including tourism.

Montréal-Trudeau Airport is a strategic hub for Air Canada connecting its Quebec and Atlantic Canada domestic network, with its U.S. transborder, Caribbean, European, North African, Asian and South American flights. To the U.S. alone, Air Canada connects Montreal-Trudeau to some 24 cities.

Since 2012, Air Canada has launched 35 new routes from Montréal-Trudeau to global markets including Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Lima, Sao Paulo, and Casablanca. This growth has allowed Montreal to rank amongst the top 50 most internationally connected cities in the world and to become one of the largest North American hubs.

Air Canada served more than 10 million passengers in Montreal in 2018.


The Canadian Competition Bureau shouldn’t approve this merger. Air Canada’s market share dominance would become even greater if Air Transat purchase goes through. This is bad for the consumer as it would inevitably lead to higher fares.

WestJet was just acquired by a Canadian private equity firm (read more here), although the purchase has not been completed yet. Combining WestJet and Air Transat would have created more formidable competitor for Air Canada.

If you enjoyed this article, get our blog updates for free!

Previous articleHyatt’s Shark Fin Problem
Next articleAmerican Express (U.S.) Offer For Rimowa Baggage Purchases Over $500: 15,000 Memberships Rewards or $150 Back!