Hungary has submitted a formal offer to buy a majority stake in Budapest Airport in a transaction that could be valued at about €4 billion ($4.3 billion), according to a person familiar with the matter, potentially ending years of wrangling over the hub’s fate.
(Bloomberg) — Hungary has submitted a formal offer to buy a majority stake in Budapest Airport in a transaction that could be valued at about €4 billion ($4.3 billion), according to a person familiar with the matter, potentially ending years of wrangling over the hub’s fate.
The two parties are expected to now enter into formal discussions, said the person, who asked not to be named. Hungary is offering to buy 51% via a state-controlled investment company, while the remaining 49% is set to be acquired by another airport operator, the person said, without identifying that suitor.
The person said the offer was in the same ballpark as an earlier bid put forward by a consortium led by the Hungarian government in 2021. That effort collapsed due to the challenging economic environment the government was in at the time.
AviAlliance, a Germany-based airport management company that operates the Hungarian hub and is its biggest shareholder, confirmed it had received an offer.
“The current owners have reviewed the offer in the interest of their funds and decided to enter into formal discussions, which are expected to last several months,” AviAlliance said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.
Read more: Hungary Said to Offer $4.6 Billion for Budapest Airport Control
Hungary’s Economic Development Ministry, which is in charge of the acquisition talks on behalf of the government, said negotiations for the purchase of the airport are ongoing, and that they would inform the public once an agreement was reached. The ministry provided no further details in an emailed response to questions.
The news of the talks emerged on Tuesday, the same day that Hungary sold €1.75 billion in Eurobonds to finance what it said was an increased funding need for the year and plans to prefinance debt maturing in 2024. Economic Development Minister Marton Nagy has previously floated the option of using foreign-currency bonds to finance the purchase of the airport.
Details on the identity of all the proposed buyers as well as further information on how they would finance the deal were still to be provided, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private matters.
The hub’s privatization started in 2005 and the Hungarian government sold its remaining stake in 2011, a year after Prime Minister Viktor Orban returned to power. The concession agreement lasts until 2080. The Hungarian government has been trying to return the asset under government control for some time.
–With assistance from Veronika Gulyas.
(Updates with comment from Budapest Airport owner in fifth paragraph.)
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