Carlyle backs away from making offer for Signature Aviation

(Reuters) – Carlyle Investment Management said on Thursday it would not make an offer for private jet services provider Signature Aviation, a day after the private equity firm’s unit bought the British firm’s engine repairs business.

Signature Aviation earlier this month backed a joint offer from former Gatwick owner GIP, Blackstone Group Inc and Bill Gates’ investment vehicle Cascade valuing it at $4.73 billion.

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

Signature Aviation, which is one-fifth owned by Gates’ Cascade and provides full-service flight support and non-fuel services, said in January it got a takeover approach from Carlyle.

Investors and analysts had kept an eye out to see if Carlyle or any other party made a higher offer for Signature, following a saga that culminated in rival bidders Blackstone, GIP and Cascade joining forces to buy the London-listed firm.

Signature Aviation on Wednesday agreed to sell its engine repairs business to Carlyle-owned StandardAero for $230 million.

Bloomberg News first reported on Wednesday that Carlyle was planning to bow out of the bidding after the StandardAero deal.

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