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Gatwick Airport could be about to change hands for up to £10billion, landing a huge payout for its owners.
City sources said that New York-based Global Infrastructure Partners is ‘very close’ to making a decision on whether to sell some or all of the airport.
An announcement about a deal could be made in the next few weeks.
If GIP does sell all or some of its 42 per cent shareholding in the airport, it would be the culmination of one of the most successful and lucrative deals on record
If GIP does sell all or some of its 42 per cent shareholding in the airport, it would be the culmination of one of the most successful and lucrative deals on record.
Another option for GIP would be to extend the life of the fund in which its stake is held.
The investment group bought Gatwick for £1.5billion from BAA in 2009, after the airports monopoly was broken up by the competition regulator after the financial crisis.
Analysts estimate Gatwick could now be worth between £7billion and £10billion.
Partners at GIP stand personally to make hundreds of millions of pounds from the ‘carried interest’ they have attached to the investment in the airport.
GIP has already paid itself several hundred million pounds in dividends.
Since the acquisition, GIP has sold stakes in the airport to some of the world’s most powerful investors, including the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, South Korea’s National Pension Service and Australia’s Future Fund.
GIP, which declined to comment, has transformed Gatwick in the past decade, luring more airlines and handling more than 44 million passengers a year.
The firm also owns Edinburgh airport and sold London City airport in 2016 for £2billion-plus.
Gatwick Airport owner set for record returns as rumours fly that a sale is imminent