Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris to sell stake in Signature Aviation for $4.7bn

The Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris plans to accept an offer worth $4.7 billion for the acquisition of Signature Aviation Plc, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

The third-largest shareholder NNS, the investment vehicle of Sawiris, plans to offload its 7.42% stake to a bidding consortium led by Blackstone Group Inc. and Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), according to the international news agency.

This step helps end a months-long fight for control of the biggest operator of private-jet bases.

Earlier in February, competing bidders GIP and Blackstone partnered and raised their acquisition offer to $5.62 per share.

The offer submitted by GIP and Blackstone, which has been supported by the largest shareholder Bill Gates, will most probably be the winning bid.

Signature Aviation, which is one-fifth owned by Gates’ Cascade and provides full-service flight support and non-fuel services, announced in January it got a takeover approach from Carlyle, but the latter withdrew offer later this month.

There has been interest from big buyout companies as the private jet industry is faring better than commercial airlines, with wealthy travellers avoiding crowded planes during the COVID-19 pandemic.