Gatwick Airport To Buy Signature Aviation

The co-owner of London’s Gatwick Airport, Global Infrastructure Partners, secured a $4.63 billion deal to buy British private jet servicing company Signature Aviation on Monday, upstaging private equity giants Blackstone and Carlyle. The deal with Global Infrastructure Partners, whose approach was declined by the company in December, comes after Blackstone said on Friday it had won the support of Signature Aviation’s biggest shareholder Bill Gates for a potential $4.3 billion bid.

New York-based GIP will pay Signature Aviation shareholders $5.50 in cash for each share, while Blacsktone had offered $5.17 per share. GIP plans to take Signature Aviation off the London Stock Exchange if the deal goes through.

While airlines around the world grapple with COVID-19 induced travel curbs, private jet operators have fared better as wealthy passengers switch to what is perceived as a safer way to fly. Blackstone’s agreement with Gates for its planned offer came hours after Signature had confirmed an initial takeover approach from Carlyle.