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Sawiris approves takeover of Signature Aviation as 3rd largest shareholder

If the offer succeeds, it will signal the end of a months-long bidding war

By: Business Today Egypt

Mon, Feb. 22, 2021

Signature Aviation, the private jet operator, looks to be ready to be taken over as Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris announces he is on board with a $4.7 billion takeover offer, which he holds a 7.41 percent stake of, Bloomberg reports.

Bloomberg’s report cites a statement from Sawiris’ investment arm NNS Holding, with Sawiris as Signature’s third-largest shareholder.

The potential suitors, Blackstone Group and Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), recently partnered and raised the purchase price by some USD 0.12 to USD 5.62 a share — winning approval of Signature's management and getting Sawiris’ backing.

If the offer succeeds, it will signal the end of a months-long bidding war.

PE giant Carlyle Group had previously been in a consortium with Blackstone, which is bidding in alliance with Bill Gates, to rival GIP’s offer. Blackstone broke out and joined GIP, and Carlyle said it will opt for taking a stake in one of Signature’s units.

Sawiris raised his stake last month to 7.41 percent from 7.16 percent, worth some $350 million, and has been accumulating shares since the pandemic, becoming the company’s third-largest shareholder, and among a handful of billionaires controlling more than 25 percent of the company.

The private jet business had a solid run amid the pandemic as commercial travel was banned at the onset and performed poorly since then. Signature’s value, meanwhile, almost tripled in size to some $4.8 billionaire after a mid-March low more of the wealthy turned to private air transport.