fbpx

Bill Gates throws weight behind bid for Signature Aviation

Bill Gates throws weight behind bid for Signature Aviation

Bill Gates has thrown his weight behind a £3.2billion takeover of Signature Aviation as a bidding war looms for the historic British firm. The Mi

Five most viewed overseas properties on Rightmove in 2020 revealed
Posh furniture firm co-founded by Sam Cam’s mother borrows £9m
Could you profit from Moneyball shares that others don’t like?

Bill Gates has thrown his weight behind a £3.2billion takeover of Signature Aviation as a bidding war looms for the historic British firm. 

The Microsoft founder, who owns 19 per cent of the private jets provider through his vehicle Cascade Investment, has joined US private equity giant Blackstone in its bid to buy the business. 

Gates and Blackstone revealed they have formed a consortium and are in ‘advanced talks’ about a 381p per share offer with Signature, formerly known as BBA Aviation, which has already said it is minded to support their advances.

Bidding war: The company made its name making parts for Spitfire planes (above centre) used to fight the Battle of Britain in 1940

Bidding war: The company made its name making parts for Spitfire planes (above centre) used to fight the Battle of Britain in 1940

Bidding war: The company made its name making parts for Spitfire planes (above centre) used to fight the Battle of Britain in 1940

Blackstone and Cascade said discussions ‘remain ongoing’ but added ‘there can be no certainty that any offer will be made’ for Signature. 

The potential sale of the aviation group comes at a time when Britain is at the mercy of ‘pandemic plundering’, with foreign firms circling vulnerable UK rivals that have seen their value plummet during the Covid crisis. 

Signature is the world’s largest services provider for private and business jets and was founded in 1879 by Walter Willson Cobbett as a manufacturer of drive belts. 

During the Second World War it made its name making parts for Spitfire and Hurricane aircraft. It also made the first brake pads for Jaguar cars and transmission linings for Ford’s Model T. Today it has some 200 sites globally and provides everything from plane refuelling and hangar use to catering and concierge services. 

Gates, 65, has been an investor since 2009 and used the pandemic to build his stake. 

Backing: Microsoft founder Bill Gates

Backing: Microsoft founder Bill Gates

Backing: Microsoft founder Bill Gates

His holding is valued at about £640m, after yesterday’s announcement sent Signature’s stock fell 2.9 per cent to 406p. But that was still above the mooted offer, suggesting investors believe Gates and Blackstone’s bid for the business could still face competition. Private equity firm Carlyle, which is reportedly considering a move, has hired investment banks to examine options, while Gatwick Airport owner Global Infrastructure is thought to have made a smaller offer. 

Any deal would be just the latest corporate sale overseen by Signature chairman Sir Nigel Rudd, 74, dubbed ‘the man who sold Britain’ by some critics. Controversial deals he presided over include the sale of glass maker Pilkington to Japan’s Nippon Sheet Glass in 2006 and the part-sale of engineer Invensys to Germany’s Siemens in 2012. He also combined Boots with Alliance Unichem in 2006, selling the newly formed Alliance Boots in an £11billion private equity deal a year later. 

Rudd has defended the takeovers, claiming Invensys and Pilkington had suffered financial difficulties and that Boots was bought for ‘an extraordinarily good price’.

#fiveDealsWidget .dealItemTitle#mobile {display:none} #fiveDealsWidget {display:block; float:left; clear:both; max-width:636px; margin:0; padding:0; line-height:120%; font-size:12px} #fiveDealsWidget div, #fiveDealsWidget a {margin:0; padding:0; line-height:120%; text-decoration: none; font-family:Arial, Helvetica ,sans-serif} #fiveDealsWidget .widgetTitleBox {display:block; float:left; width:100%; background-color:#af1e1e; } #fiveDealsWidget .widgetTitle {color:#fff; text-transform: uppercase; font-size:18px; font-weight:bold; margin:6px 10px 4px 10px; } #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem {float:left; display:block; width:124px; margin-right:4px; margin-top:5px; background-color: #e3e3e3; min-height:200px;} #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem#last {margin-right:0} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemTitle {display:block; margin:10px 5px; color:#000; font-weight:bold} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemImage, #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemImage img {float:left; display:block; margin:0; padding:0} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemImage {border:1px solid #ccc} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemImage img {width:100%; height:auto} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemdesc {float:left; display:block; color:#004db3; font-weight:bold; margin:5px;} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemRate {float:left; display:block; color:#000; margin:5px} #fiveDealsWidget .footerText a:hover{text-decoration: underline;} #fiveDealsWidget .footerSmall{font-size:10px; padding-top:10px;} @media (max-width: 635px) { #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem {width:19%; margin-right:1%} #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem#last {width:20%} } @media (max-width: 560px) { #fiveDealsWidget #desktop {display:none;} #fiveDealsWidget #mobile {display:block!important} #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem {background-color: #fff; height:auto; min-height:auto} #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem {border-bottom:1px solid #ececec; margin-bottom:5px; padding-bottom:10px} #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem#last {border-bottom:0px solid #ececec; margin-bottom:5px; padding-bottom:0px} #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem, #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem#last {width:100%} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemContent, #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemImage {float:left; display:inline-block} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemImage {width:35%; margin-right:1%} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemContent {width:63%} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemTitle {margin: 0px 5px 5px; font-size:16px} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemContent .dealItemdesc, #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemContent .dealItemRate {clear:both} }

This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

Do You Enjoy This Article?
Sign up for our newsletter and receive FREE access to download SuccessDigest Digital Weekly Edition for attainment of your financial freedom in the new digital economy!

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 0
DISQUS:
%d bloggers like this: