Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) has made a $4.63bn (€3.75bn) offer for UK aviation support services firm Signature Aviation, fending off a joint offer proposal bid from Blackstone and Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment.

GIP, which is making the cash offer via the newly formed GIP IV Hancock Bidco partnership, is offering Signature shareholders $5.50 for each share, an amount which exceeds Blackstone and Cascade’s $5.17 per share possible cash offer.

Last month, Signature confirmed it is in talks with Blackstone Infrastructure Advisors and Blackstone Core Equity Management Associates regarding the possible $5.17 per share offer.

At the time, Signature said it had also received an indicative proposal from GIP regarding a possible cash offer, at a lower price than the Blackstone proposal and had rejected it.

On Friday, Blackstone said it had teamed up with Cascade for the purposes of pursuing a possible joint offer for Signature. Cascade and its related entities already own or control 157.6 Signature shares, representing 19.01% stake.

In the latest announcement, Signature and the newly formed GIP IV Hancock Bidco partnership said they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended cash.

Signature said it intends to recommend that shareholders vote in favour of the takeover offer.

Nigel Rudd, chair of Signature Aviation, said: “The resilient performance and strong financial position through the pandemic has enabled the Signature directors to consider its future and evaluate this offer from a position of strength.

“We believe that the offer from GIP represents an attractive and certain value in cash today for Signature shareholders, reflecting the high quality of the business and its network, its people and its future prospects.

“The Signature Directors believe that the proposal provides clear benefits to Signature shareholders and GIP’s operational and financial resources will generate enhanced opportunities for our employees, and ensure continued high-quality, full-service flight support for business and general aviation travel.”

Adebayo Ogunlesi, the chairman and managing partner of GIP, said: “Signature, like many businesses in the aviation sector, needs to address the challenges resulting from COVID, whilst market conditions and earnings are likely to remain subdued for some time.

“As an experienced, long term infrastructure investor with a strong operational focus, we believe that we are the ideal partner for Signature going forward.”

To read the digital edition of the latest IPE Real Assets magazine click here.