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Dufry to buy rest of Hudson unit in $311 million deal

ZURICH (Reuters) - Dufry DUFN.S has agreed to buy the rest of its Hudson Ltd HUD.N unit for $7.70 per share in an all-cash deal worth around $311 million that will delist Hudson from the New York Stock Exchange, the Swiss duty free group said on Wednesday.

“The delisting of Hudson is part of Dufry’s current re-organisation and is intended to further simplify its corporate structure and align its operations to the new business environment,” it said.

The move comes as Dufry reels under the hit of COVID-19, which has dramatically reduced traffic at airports worldwide, gutted sales and pushed the Swiss group to a first-half loss. Hudson has more than 1,000 stores in airports, commuter hubs, landmarks and tourist destinations.

A planned rights issue to fund the deal had been fully underwritten by UBS UBSG.S and Credit Suisse CSGN.S, Dufry said. It expected annual cost savings of at least 20 million Swiss francs ($22.2 million) from the transaction.

Dufry already owns 57.4% of Hudson, which it floated in 2018 to fund a share buyback and dividends. It said the purchase price represented a premium of 50.1% to Hudson’s closing share price on Tuesday.

UBS is acting as exclusive financial adviser and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, Homburger AG and Appleby are acting as legal advisers to Dufry.

A Hudson special committee formed by directors was advised by Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP as legal advisers and by Lazard Freres & Co as lead independent financial adviser. The special committee was also advised by Banco Santander, Hudson said.

Reporting by Michael Shields

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