No sooner had the proverbial door hit Pierre-Karl Peladeau on his way out of talks to acquire Transat, than the operator’s largest shareholder confirmed its confidence in Transat’s future.
“Letko Brosseau has been a shareholder of the Company (Transat) for many years. Our firm has a long-term investment horizon and views the current challenges the Company faces as temporary,” the investment firm said in a release issued Friday, adding that Transat, “has successfully completed a $700 million financing with the Government of Canada which is expected to provide the resources to deal with the business interruption experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The statement went on to add other strong expressions of optimism in Transat. “In addition, as Canada completes its national vaccination program against COVID-19, travel will resume. We are confident that the Company’s strong franchise and capable management team will successfully navigate the Company through this crisis.
“We therefore remain committed to Transat and will continue to remain a shareholder.”
Letko Brosseau controls more than12 per cent of Transat shares. As Open Jaw has reported, the company has been a vocal and public detractor of PKP’s intentions to acquire Transat, with VP Peter Letko, VP saying as recently as APR that he would not sell his Transat shares at the price offered by Péladeau.
The investment firm was apparently true to its word.
Media including CTV reported Thursday a statement from Peladeau that he had “not been able to agree on a price with Transat’s largest shareholder, Letko, Brosseau & Associates,” and so had, “no more interest” in the tour operator.
On its part, when news of Peladeau’s statement broke, Transat said it was aware of the comments but had not received any formal communication from the Quebec businessman. Transat subsequently acknowledged that takeover negotiations had ended.