The councils involved in the sale were Leeds and Bradford, which each owned 40 per cent of the airport, as well as Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield, which owned the remaining 20 per cent between them.
Leeds City Council director of legal services Nicola Jackson led the consortium, instructing a team from panel firm DLA Piper, led by Leeds projects partner Nigel Drew.
European private equity house Bridgepoint Capital bought the airport. It was represented by an Addleshaws team led by Leeds corporate partner Sean Lippell and senior associate Gary Elliot. Elliot said: “This was an interesting deal in that the councils retained a non-economic special share to guarantee that the airport would retain its name and its status as an airport. We’ve acted for Bridgepoint before, but this was a special instruction that we were very satisfied to have won the pitch for.”
Royal Bank of Scotland provided the debt, advised by an Allen & Overy team led by partner Gareth Price.
Bridgepoint plans to spend £70m on doubling the airport’s passenger capacity to seven million by the year 2015, and to increase the airport’s commercial revenue from retail.
The deal is the second major investment in airports for the private equity house, which became the largest private investor in Birmingham International Airport, before selling its stake in December 2001.