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Gatwick Airport co-owner outbids Blackstone to buy Signature Aviation

The co-owner of London’s Gatwick Airport, Global Infrastructure Partners, (GIP) clinched a $4.63 billion deal to buy British private jet servicing company’s Signature Aviation recently, trumping private equity giants Blackstone and Carlyle.

Stewart Wingate is currently the London Gatwick’s Chief Executive Officer, he previously held different roles within BAA, first as Customer Services Director of Glasgow Airport, then as CEO of Budapest Airport and most recently as Managing Director of Stansted Airport, before his current position.

The deal with Global Infrastructure Partners, whose approach was rebuffed by the company in December, comes after Blackstone said it had won the support of Signature Aviation’s biggest shareholder, Bill Gates for a possible $4.3 billion bid.

On 14 May 2019, business was transferred to new management with VINCI Airports now owning the majority shareholding of 50.01% and the remainder owned by a consortium of investors and managed by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), who have been operating Gatwick since 2009.
New York-based GIP will pay Signature Aviation shareholders $5.50 in cash for each share, while Blacktone had offered $5.17 per share.

Shares in the company formerly known as BBA Aviation rose 6.4% to 430.4 pence, taking the stock to the top of the FTSE-250 index in early trading.
Signature Aviation PLC is a British multinational aviation services company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. Her revenue is 2.26 billion USD (2019), while the key person is Nigel Rudd, Signature Aviation has been running with 5,500 employees since 2018 and it was founded since 1879.
GIP plans to take Signature Aviation off the London Stock Exchange if the deal goes through.

As airlines across the world struggle 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.

You Need to Know
Who is the biggest airline at Gatwick?
Key stats as at 2019
Biggest airline: EasyJet carrying 19m passengers.
Total passengers: 46.6 million.
Aircraft movements: 280,700.
Total number of aircraft seats: 53.9 million.
Average number of passengers per flight: 166.
Average load factor: 86.3%
Long haul passengers: 8.9m.
Top destination served: Barcelona (1.6m passengers)