BAA opens up Pakistan and Europe as ex-Stansted MD joins bid queue
High ranking BAA shareholders are set to cash in on a bidding war from international consortia fighting to take control of the UK company by pushing the asking price past £10 per share.High ranking BAA shareholders are set to cash in on a bidding war from international consortia fighting to take control of the UK company by pushing the asking price past £10 per share.
Standard Life Investments has already disclosed that more than £10 a share wasn’t an unreasonable price for any bidder to pay for control of BAA and other leading backers have fallen into line.
Spanish company Ferrovial has already had a bid of 810p rejected by BAA’s board and has been given a final deadline by the Takeover Panel of April 24 to lodge an improved offer.
But it now looks more likely that Australian based Macquarie Bank will come up with a more acceptable bid for BAA.
John Stent, former chief executive at BAA Stansted Airport, is on the board of the bank’s Macquarie Airports subsidiary and former BAA colleagues are also involved with the business.
A firm offer would trigger a multi-billion pound bidding war. Macquarie is in talks with US private equity group Blackstone and Canada’s Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan about piecing together the finance to launch a potential bid but talks are very early stage.
Even then, one well placed Australian financial source told Business Weekly he felt BAA may prove “too big a mouthful to swallow.”
Stansted Airport executives are meanwhile getting on with the business of building the Essex hub into an ever-more glittering jewel in the BAA crown.
Business Weekly can reveal that talks have advanced on opening up a direct and major Asian route, understood to be Islamabad, the Pakistan capital.
Several new European routes are coming on board between the end of March and beginning of May, chiefly Helsinki and Gothenburg through Scandinavian Airlines subsidiaries, Athens (through FlyGlobespan) and Palma via Ryanair.
Officials from the capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose, have renewed a pledge to broker a proposed direct air link between the city and Stansted.
Business Weekly revealed last week that start-up airline, Maxjet planned to expand its existing transatlantic services to take in a direct route to Silicon Valley, with the aim of taking it live early in 2007.
The City of San Jose, which owns and operates Norman Y Mineta San Jose International Airport, says that a direct link forms a key strand of its policy going forward.
Joe Hedges from its office of economic development said: “Aviation links are an important area of San Jose’s economic partnership agreement with the East England and efforts have been made to develop a San Jose-East of England flight.”
Bill Sherry, director of San Jose International Airport added: “We have an ongoing air service programme focused on establishing international services that fit our market area. London and the East of England are areas of particular interest.”