LONDON, UK: Wheels Up UK Limited (BidCo), a newly-incorporated company indirectly owned by Wheels Up Experience Inc., has signed an agreement to acquire Air Partner plc at the rate of 125 pence/share in cash. The acquisition values Air Partner’s entire issued, and to be issued, ordinary share capital at approximately £84.8 million.
Air Partner offers a unique opportunity for Wheels Up to acquire an established global aviation services group, led by an experienced management team and supported by a highly skilled employee base, with a 60-year history of meeting customers’ ever evolving needs across charter and, more recently, safety, security services through a scaled international platform.
With this acquisition, Wheels Up will be able to leverage its significant investments in brand, operations, service, and technology on a global basis with an active and engaged customer base. Wheels Up believes that this Air Partner acquisition will accelerate its long-term vision to be the global leader in private aviation.
The acquisition of Air Partner will add a profitable global platform for Wheels Up to accelerate its growth and market expansion.
Air Partner will accelerate the expansion of Wheels Up’s marketplace, providing immediate connection to a substantial global network of safety vetted and verified third party aircraft.
Wheels Up and Air Partner believe that the combination will provide significant opportunities for value enhancement for both Wheels Up and Air Partner’s current and prospective customers.
The acquisition of Air Partner and its diversified platform expands the Wheels Up portfolio of products and services; and
The proposed acquisition of a consistently profitable business represents an opportunity for margin expansion and sustained financial performance.
Wheels Up is the leading provider of “on demand” private aviation in the United States and one of the largest private aviation companies in the world.
Powered by a growing marketplace of more than 1,500 safety-vetted and verified aircraft, Wheels Up is the only company in the industry to offer a total private aviation solution that includes a relentless focus on safety and service, with flexibility across all types of aircraft, membership programmes, corporate solutions, aircraft management, whole aircraft sales and commercial travel benefits through a strategic partnership with Delta Air Lines.
Commenting on the Acquisition, Ed Warner, Chair of Air Partner, said:
“The Air Partner Board believes that Wheels Up offer represents a fair and recommendable price for shareholders, which recognises Air Partner’s capabilities, value and future prospects. We have also looked very carefully at Wheels Up’s intentions for Air Partner’s business, management, employees, customers and other stakeholders and strongly believe that the Acquisition will enable Air Partner to achieve great success in the future as part of the enlarged Wheels Up Group.
In particular, the Air Partner Board notes the importance and value attached by Wheels Up to the skills and experience of Air Partner’s team, who have helped make the business what it is today. The Air Partner Board is confident that this is the correct course for Air Partner, and one that is in the best interests of all stakeholders.”
Mark Briffa, CEO of Air Partner, commented:
“This proposed acquisition has a compelling strategic rationale, bringing together two businesses with complementary offerings and values for the benefit of their customers. I am extremely proud of Air Partner; we have built a fantastic team and a highly attractive business and Wheels Up’s offer is a clear acknowledgment of this.
The Air Partner Board believes that a combination with Wheels Up would give our customers, colleagues and stakeholders the additional resources of one of the largest private aviation companies in the world, enabling us to significantly enhance our technology, customer offer, and international aircraft supply.
Air Partner has always placed the customer at the heart of what we do – a value that is equally shared by Wheels Up – and I am confident this will continue to be the case.
It’s clear to us that Wheels Up has a full appreciation of our expert capabilities and highly skilled teams and, with their backing and support, I am confident that Air Partner would have an extremely bright future.”
Commenting on the Acquisition, Kenny Dichter, CEO of Wheels Up, said:
“Today’s announcement marks an important new chapter for Wheels Up as we systematically build the leading global, private aviation company that creates value for our customers and shareholders. This acquisition will allow us to offer existing and future customers even more compelling and seamless options for private travel, expand the reach of our marketplace in key markets around the world, and add important operational capabilities to our network.
Air Partner has tremendous heritage, leadership expertise and unique capabilities that will allow us to accelerate our global strategy and credibly expand our offerings in a meaningful way. We look forward to sharing more details on the transaction and our go-to-market plans after the deal formally closes.”