Airport operator BAA has opted to sell London Stansted airport, ending a long-running legal battle to retain ownership of the U.K.’s second largest cargo hub.
BAA said it has decided not to make a final appeal in the U.K.’s Supreme Court against a ruling by competition regulators in 2009 that it must sell Stansted, London Gatwick and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports to ease its monopoly over the nation’s airport market.
Stansted, which is 30 miles northeast of London, is mainly an express and freighter hub, handling almost 206,000 tons of cargo in 2011. It is the U.K.’s fourth-largest passenger airport.
Stansted earned £86.6 million ($136 million) before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization in 2011.
BAA sold London Gatwick for $1.55 billion in 2009 to New York-based Global Infrastructure Partners, which also bought Edinburgh Airport for $1.2 billion in April.
Following the sale of Stansted, BAA will have four airports in the U.K. — London Heathrow, Southampton, Aberdeen and Glasgow.
On Friday, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund acquired a 20 percent stake in BAA for $1.4 billion. This included a 10.62 percent stake held by BAA’s main shareholder, Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial.
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