SYDNEY (BLOOMBERG) – Sydney Airport agreed to sell itself to a consortium of funds for A$23.6 billion (S$23.6 billion), just as Australia reopens its borders to international travel.

The airport’s board accepted an offer of A$8.75 per share from a group led by IFM Investors, and unanimously recommended shareholders vote to approve the deal early next year, the company said in a statement on Monday (Nov 8).

The agreement is the latest among a spate of recent take-private transactions involving infrastructure assets and Australia’s retirement funds.

The announcement follows the government’s Nov 1 move to allow vaccinated travelers from overseas into the country’s two biggest states without the need for quarantine for the first time since March 2020, while letting millions of Australians freely travel abroad.

Sydney Airport had earlier rejected two previous bids from the consortium, starting with an initial offer of A$8.25 per share in July.

The bidding group, Sydney Aviation Alliance, includes Australian pension funds AustralianSuper and QSuper along with IFM – an infrastructure investor owned by 23 Australian pension funds – and Global Infrastructure Partners.

Sydney Airport’s largest existing shareholder, UniSuper, plans to transfer its 15 per cent stake into the new holding company.