Broker Air Partner set to be bought in $107m deal

By Damian Brett

Private aviation firm Wheels Up Experience Inc has reached an agreement to buy UK-based charter broker Air Partner.

Under the terms of the transaction, Wheels Up will acquire the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Air Partner for £1.25 per share, equivalent to an enterprise value of approximately $107m.

New York-based Wheels up said the deal would enable it to expand internationally, while Air Partner would benefit from investment in operations, service and technology.

Wheels Up chairman and chief executive Kenny Dichter said: “Today’s announcement marks an important new chapter for Wheels Up as we systematically build the leading global, private aviation company that creates unparalleled 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.”

Air Partner chief executive Mark Briffa added: “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 operations in 18 locations and across four continents. The company provides private jet, group and freight charter and aviation safety & security solutions.

Last week, Air Partner announced that Pierre Van Der Stichele had joined the business from rival Chapman Freeborn to head up the firm’s cargo business.

Van Der Stichele switches to Air Partner

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