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Billionaire Sawiris said to back $4.7bn Signature takeover

Billionaire Sawiris said to back $4.7bn Signature takeover

Sawiris is the third-biggest shareholder in Signature Aviation

Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris plans to accept a sweetened $4.7bn takeover offer for private-jet company Signature Aviation, according to people familiar with the discussions.

NNS, the investment vehicle of Sawiris, is set to sell its 7.42 per cent stake to a bidding consortium led by Blackstone Group and Global Infrastructure Partners, said the people, asking not to be identified because discussions are private.

Sawiris, the third-biggest shareholder in Signature Aviation, could announce his backing this coming week, they said.

The move would help 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, 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.

Representatives for Signature, NNS and Blackstone declined to comment.

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