UPDATE 1-Transat shareholders approve Air Canada's C$720 mln bid for leisure group - Jean Pierre Bansard Commercial Real Estate Development Firm.
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UPDATE 1-Transat shareholders approve Air Canada’s C$720 mln bid for leisure group

UPDATE 1-Transat shareholders approve Air Canada’s C$720 mln bid for leisure group


(Adds details from shareholder meeting, CEO comment)

MONTREAL, Aug 23 (Reuters) – Transat AT shareholders on Friday overwhelmingly voted in favor of Air Canada’s bid for the leisure group, in a deal that still requires domestic and European regulatory approval.

Air Canada offered C$720 million ($540.70 million), or C$18 a share, bid for the tour operator, which runs leisure carrier Air Transat. Air Canada sweetened its initial C$13 a share offer for Transat, locking up support from the tour operator’s largest shareholder Letko Brosseau.

Canada’s largest carrier said the Transat acquisition would bolster its leisure travel business after the deal closes, which is expected in 2020.

Despite offers from other rivals, including a Montreal real estate group, Transat Chief Executive Jean-Marc Eustache told shareholders that: “Air Canada’s offer was the only viable proposition.”

Quebec businessman and former politician Pierre Karl Peladeau had said he would vote against Air Canada’s offer and consider making a separate offer with partners if the deal fails. Peladeau owns a 1.6% stake in Transat.

The deal would give Transat a 60% market share of select transatlantic routes to and from Canada, and would require approvals from domestic and European competition regulators.

Eustache said there were never plans to sell Transat, but inquiries from Air Canada sparked questions about the company’s future as it struggled to compete against larger international carriers.

“The problem is the competition,” he said, which raised questions over whether Transat “would survive alone.”

Independent proxy advisory firms ISS and Glass Lewis both recommended that shareholders vote for Air Canada’s offer.

Air Canada wasn’t immediately reachable for comment.

Transat shares declined 1.1% in Toronto midday trading. (Reporting by Allison Lampert Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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Commercial Real Estate Bansard Jean Pierre

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