May 13, 2019 / 3:00 PM / a year ago

BUZZ-WestJet: Takes off to touch over 4-year high on buyout deal

** Shares of WestJet Airlines Ltd surge as much 63.3% to C$30.24 - highest since March 2015

** The Canadian carrier accepts C$3.53 bln ($2.63 bln) buyout offer from private equity fund Onex Corp, ending a two-month long strategic review

** WJA shares trading slightly below Onex’s C$31/share offer - a 67% premium to WJA’s closing price on Friday

** WJA has a market value of C$2.11 bln ($1.57 bln), according to Refinitiv data

** Shares of ONEX edged 0.9% higher in early trading

** Canaccord Genuity says the deal brings WJA shares closer to trading at same levels as peer Air Canada and other U.S. peers

** Hikes PT for WJA to C$31 from C$23 and maintains “hold” rating considering how shares are currently trading at a narrow discount to offer price

** WJA shares were the top percentage gainer on the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index

** WJA now up 68.5% for the year vs a ~49% YTD rise in shares of Air Canada (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru)

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