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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 09:44 GMT 10:44 UK
Macquarie joins BAA bidding team
Gatwick airport
BAA operates seven UK airports
Australian bank Macquarie has joined the Spanish-led team that is seeking to buy airports operator BAA.

Macquarie has agreed to become a joint financial adviser to Grupo Ferrovial's bidding consortium, alongside existing adviser Citigroup.

In return, Ferrovial is giving Macquarie the option of buying its stakes in Sydney and Bristol airports.

BAA rejected a 8.75bn takeover proposal earlier this month from the Ferrovial consortium.

If the takeover bid eventually succeeds, Macquarie would have the option to buy Ferrovial's 20.9% percent stake in Sydney Airport for about 408m ($711mn) and its 50% stake in Bristol Airport for about 106m, the Spanish group said.

Old partners

The bidding group includes Canadian fund manager Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec and the private equity investment arm of the Singapore government.

It brings Macquarie on side, and I think therefore increases the likelihood that we will see an improved offer from the Ferrovial consortium
Damian Brewer, analyst

The UK's takeover watchdog said last week that the Ferrovial consortium must make a firm offer for BAA by 24 April, or walk away from the bid arena.

Macquarie and Ferrovial have worked together in the past, jointly paying 198m to buy Bristol Airport in 2001, as well as teaming up on a toll road project in Chicago and a 253km highway running the full length of the US state of Indiana.

Analysts said the deal effectively keeps one potential competitor at bay and strengthens Ferrovial's position.

"It brings Macquarie on side, and I think therefore increases the likelihood that we will see an improved offer from the Ferrovial consortium," said JP Morgan analyst Damian Brewer.

BAA operates seven airports in the UK, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and three Scottish airports - Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. It shares were up 2.5 pence, or 0.3%, on Wednesday morning at 829.5p.


SEE ALSO:
BAA to shut Heathrow's Terminal 2
27 Mar 06 |  Business
BAA rejects Spanish takeover bid
17 Mar 06 |  Business
Spanish firm eyes up BAA airports
08 Feb 06 |  Business
UK airport passenger numbers grow
11 Jan 06 |  Business
UK airports see 10.4m passengers
09 Dec 05 |  Hampshire
BAA passenger levels bounce back
11 Oct 05 |  Business


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