Flexjet, Sentient Jet boss sets SPAC to target $100 million + acquistions

By Doug Gollan, October 9, 2020

Directional Aviation’s Kenn Ricci is launching Zanite Acquisition Corporation to target next-generation aviation acquisitions

Directional Aviation, which controls OneSky Flight, the company that acquired Flexjet, Sentient Jet, and PrivateFly over the past decade, is launching a Special Purpose Acquisition Company. The story was first reported earlier today by Corporate Jet Investor.

In terms of what type of companies he is looking at, Kenn Ricci, Directional’s principal, told CJI, “We don’t want to do the same thing again and these are exciting times in aviation. We are looking at new areas like electric aviation, sustainable aviation, and other emerging technologies.”

According to the report, Zanite Acquisition Corporation (ZAC) will fill the gap by targeting companies valued above its typical acquisition ceiling of $150 million and private equity groups that look for companies in the billion-dollar range.

“We typically have around $30 million to invest in equity in each new company. With leverage we can make that up to around $100 million or $150 million,” Ricci told CJI.

He continued, “There are private equity companies interested in several billion-dollar companies but there is a gap between what we do and what the large funds are doing. That is why we have filed for a SPAC.”

SEC records show ZAC was registered on Sept. 4, so just over a month ago with a ticker of AAPL. So far, it has not filed any forms with the agency apart from its initial registration.

A website for Zanite Ventures listed at the same address says, “Zanite Ventures is a Cleveland, Ohio based venture capital firm focused on early-stage investments in technology, software, healthcare tech, energy, IoT, robotics, and AI.”

Pitchbook shows previous deals involving drug delivery, B2C information services, productivity software, financial software, and other health services.

The move by Ricci follows an August announcement by Surf Air that it is looking to raise $200 million via a SPAC.

A third filing last month by Genesis Park Acquisition Corp. lists, cargo, passenger transport, special mission, and private aviation operators among its targets.


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