Magic Circle Duo Fly In on £3.4B Private Jet Deal

Linklaters and Slaughter and May have picked up roles on the takeover of U.K. private jet business Signature Aviation by leading investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) in a deal worth £3.4 billion.

New York-headquartered firm GIP swooped in to make an offer for the business just days after a consortium made up of private equity giant Blackstone and wealth manager Cascade Investment engaged in talks to buy Signature.

GIP’s offer to pay $5.50 per share was accepted by the Signature board on Monday, the business confirmed in a statement.

According to its website, Signature is the world’s largest fixed base operation network for business and general travellers, though it does not operate any aircraft itself.

Linklaters is advising GIP on the transaction with a team headed up by London corporate partners Nick Rees and Chris Boycott, while Slaughters is acting for Signature.

The Slaughters team includes corporate partners Robert Chaplin and Andrew Jolly, employment and incentives partner Phil Linnard, competition partner Anna Lyle-Smythe, pensions partner Sandeep Maudgil and finance partner Azadeh Nassiri.

Following a lull in deal-making activity during the summer months of 2020 caused by various COVID-19 national lockdowns, the M&A market has ramped up in recent months.

According to data from Mergermarket released in early January, the final quarter of 2020 saw European deal values skyrocket to their highest quarterly total since 2007.

Other U.K. M&A deals to have been announced in recent weeks include the sale of Admiral Group’s price comparison site for £508 million, and a pre-Christmas deal which saw interactive fitness platform Peloton acquire fitness equipment provider Precor for $420 million.

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