Australian toll road operator Atlas Arteria Ltd. has entered an agreement to acquire a majority stake in the Chicago Skyway for more than $2 billion.
The firm would acquire a 66.67% stake in the toll road from two Canadian pension funds and establish a partnership with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which will retain a 33.33% stake, the firm announced. The pension funds had acquired the Skyway in 2016 for $2.8 billion.
The 7.8-mile tolled Skyway, built in 1958, connects the Indiana Toll Road to the Dan Ryan Expressway in the city, with its route including a half-mile-long steel truss bridge.
It became the first existing U.S. toll road to enter private hands in 2004 when Spanish firm Cintra Infraestructuras and Australia's Macquarie Group closed on a 99-year, $1.82-billion lease with the city for the Skyway.
In a statement, Atlas Arteria CEO Graeme Bevans said the Skyway “is a high-quality, brownfield toll road situated in an essential transportation corridor, offering customers significant time savings and reliability versus alternate routes.” The firm's portfolio also includes the Dulles Greenway in Virginia, plus toll roads in France and Germany.
In a statement, Atlas Arteria said it does not anticipate any major rehabilitation work would be needed on the Skyway until about 2050.
The sale may face a challenge from one of Atlas Arteria’s largest investors.
The firm IFM Investors said in a statement that it has “strong reservations” about any acquisition of the Skyway by Atlas Arteria. In a letter to the company, IFM leaders wrote that they would “consider all legal options available,” including an accelerated board transition, to oppose the deal.