London City owner to buy Gatwick Airport for £1.5bn

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UK airports operator BAA has agreed to sell London Gatwick to a group controlled by Global Infrastructure Partners, the owner of London City Airport.

BAA says the transaction is worth £1.51 billion ($2.5 billion) but £55 million is conditional on future traffic performance and the "buyer's future capital structure".

The deal covers the transfer of BAA's entire shareholding in Gatwick, and will leave the operator with six UK airports in its portfolio, including London Heathrow and London Stansted.

"BAA is changing and today's announcement marks a new beginning for both Gatwick and BAA," says the operator's chief, Colin Matthews, adding that he is "confident that the airport will flourish" under its new ownership.

BAA, which was ordered by the UK competition regulator to sell two London airports and one in Scotland, says the proceeds of the Gatwick divestment will mainly be used to repay debt. Completion of the sale is expected in December.