Mayer Brown advises government of Puerto Rico on first-of-its-kind airport privatization
28 February 2013
Mayer Brown, a leading global law firm, represented the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority, a public corporation of the government of Puerto Rico, and the Puerto Rico Ports Authority on an approximately $2.6 billion, 40-year lease agreement with Aerostar Airport Holdings LLC to privatize Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan.
The transaction marks the first privatization of a major airport in the United States. Aerostar is a consortium comprised of Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste and Highstar Capital IV, L.P.
“Privatizing a major airport may be the single most complex transaction of any kind,” said partner John Schmidt (Chicago), who led the Mayer Brown team. “It includes all the complexities of a major business acquisition; an extremely complicated ongoing regulatory structure, with multiple agencies; an added legal regime designed to protect a range of important public interests in privatization; multiple parties with divergent interests, some of which (e.g. airlines) are themselves diverse groups. And the transaction is being undertaken by a public entity that has its own political/governmental pressures and constraints and inevitably undergoes an ongoing political evolution in the course of a lengthy process.
“Privatization of US airports can bring large benefits in enhancing quality for the traveling public, reducing and stabilizing airline fees and allowing states and cities to meet other infrastructure needs,” he said.
In addition to Mr. Schmidt, the Mayer Brown team included Government & Global Trade partners David Narefsky, Joseph Seliga (both Chicago) and Simeon Kriesberg (Washington, DC) and associates Jeromy Cannon and Mitch Holzrichter (both Chicago).