Eight Things To Know About The Potential Sale of Signature Aviation

Credit: Signature Flight Support

Who are the buyers of Signature Aviation?

Cascade Investment, an investment firm controlled by billionaire Bill Gates, Blackstone Infrastructure, Blackstone Core Equity and Global Infrastructure Partners  (GIP) are the buyers. The firms formed a new company, Brown Bidco, for the transaction.

When is the sale expected to close?

It will likely be March or April. The deal is subject to legal review and shareholder approval. In addition, the Carlyle Group could still make an offer of its own. 

Will Signature continue to be a publicly-traded company on the London Stock Exchange after the close?

No. The plan is for Signature to be a privately owned company.

What plans do the new owners have for the company?

Bidco officials say they plan to expand the company through organic growth and by targeted acquisitions.

If I’m a customer, what changes should I expect?

There should be no change in the “first-class service” from Signature, a company spokesperson said. “It’s business as usual and Bidco has significant experience and expertise in helping companies grow and develop.”

Why did Signature’s board of directors decide to sell the company?

The board turned down numerous earlier approaches from both Blackstone and GIP. “The resilient performance and strong financial position through the pandemic has enabled the Signature board to consider its future and evaluate this offer from a position of strength,” said Nigel Rudd, Signature chairman. The sale provides benefits to the shareholders, to the new owners and it will generate enhanced opportunities for employees, he said. It also will continue “high quality, full services flight support for B&GA travel.”

Why the interest to acquire Signature?

Signature has the potential to grow further. It is a leader in aviation services, has an attractive base of assets, a group of dedicated employees and management, and a “highly valued” customer brand and network, Bidco officials say.

How many fixed-base operator facilities does Signature operate?

Signature operates 370 locations on five continents with 5,300 employees, according to its website.

 

Editor's Note: The story has been updated to correct Signature's number of employees.

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, a market intelligence report of the Aviation Week Intelligence Network.