Signature Aviation gets $3.4bn offer

Yves Le Marquand

Signature Flight Support’s operator Signature Aviation has accepted a cash deal of over $3.4bn from Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) and could soon be under new ownership. The bid was not alone as other investment firms also declared their interest in Signature.

In December Blackstone Infrastructure Advisors and Blackstone Core Equity Management Associates offered Signature $4bn, which was backed over the weekend by Cascade Investment. Cascade manages some of Microsoft founder Bill Gates’s personal fortune and has a 17% stake in Signature.

Signature’s share price has more than doubled since December when the word of the possible sale of the company that has more than 200 locations worldwide began to leak.

Yesterday Signature announced to its shareholders that the board of directors had reached an agreement with GIP, which had improved on the amount of a previously-issued bid, on the terms of a recommended cash acquisition.

GIP currently manages $71bn in assets and the Signature purchase will be handled under Bidco, a recently-established Delaware limited liability company. Included are the FBO chain and its Epic Fuels subsidiary, as well as the company’s engine repair business that it has been attempting to unload.

The deal is subject to legal review and the approval of at least 75% of Signature’s shareholders.

“We believe that the offer from GIP represents an attractive and certain value in cash today for Signature shareholders, reflecting the high quality of the business and its network, its people, and its future prospects,” said Signature chairman Sir Nigel Rudd.

“The Signature directors believe that the proposal provides clear benefits to Signature shareholders and GIP’s operational and financial resources will generate enhanced opportunities for our employees, and ensure continued high-quality, full-service flight support for [business and general aviation] travel.”

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