Private equity firm buying WestJet

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CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -- Canadian private equity firm Onex Corp. has signed a deal to buy Canada' second-largest airline.

The all-cash deal for WestJet Airlines is valued at $5 billion Canadian ($3.71 billion).

Onex will pay $31 Canadian ($23 U.S.) per share for WestJet. The price represents about a 67% premium on the shares.

It will be privately held and continue to be based in Calgary.

The Toronto-based private equity firm approached the airline in March.

WestJet employs 14,000 people and has a fleet of about 180 planes.

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