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Billionaire Sawiris Backs $4.7 Billion Signature Takeover

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Aaron Kirchfeld and Jan-Henrik Förster
·1 min read
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(Bloomberg) -- Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris agreed to accept a sweetened $4.7 billion takeover offer for Signature Aviation Plc, a step toward ending the fight for control of the private-jet company.

NNS, the investment vehicle of Sawiris, is set to sell its 7.42% stake to a bidding consortium led by Blackstone Group Inc. and Global Infrastructure Partners, according to a statement Monday that confirmed an earlier Bloomberg News report. Sawiris is Signature’s third-biggest shareholder.

The move helps end a months-long takeover battle for the world’s biggest operator of private-jet bases. Rival bidders GIP and Blackstone earlier this month teamed up and increased their takeover bid to $5.62-per-share. That bump won the backing of Signature’s management.

Then Carlyle Group Inc., which had been considering a counter bid, announced last week that it won’t make an offer, opting instead to acquire a unit of Signature. With the nod from Sawiris, the latest GIP and Blackstone bid, which has the backing of billionaire Bill Gates, the largest shareholder, is likely to succeed.

The NNS commitment will lapse in the event of a higher offer being tabled, according to the statement.

Signature shares were little changed at 398.40 pence as of 8:14 a.m. in London.

(Updates with NNS confirmation from first paragraph)

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