RedBird Capital increases its ownership stake in Blade Air Mobility

Urban mobility provider Blade is now 5% owned by RedBird Capital after an additional investment announced today.

By Doug Gollan, January 19, 2023

Urban mobility provider Blade is now 5% owned by RedBird Capital after an additional investment announced today

Publicly traded Blade Air Mobility, Inc. is getting increased investment from RedBird Capital Partners.

The investment firm, which also has an interest in Jet Linx Aviation, upped its ownership in Blade to 5 percent.

Additionally, RedBird partner Andrew Lauck will become a board observer.

“Gerry has amassed a trove of assets in aviation, sports, and entertainment that will allow us to supercharge our offerings to Blade fliers in the U.S and Europe while expanding our market presence in the fast-growing organ air transport business,” said Rob Wiesenthal, Blade’s CEO.

He adds, “Alongside Redbird, our continued focus on acquisitions of companies that benefit from our global brand, infrastructure, tech platform, and lean operating teams will accelerate our timeline to achieving profitability while enhancing our growth trajectory.”

In the announcement, RedBird’s CEO Gerry Cardinale said, “Blade is an integral part of our broader aviation investment strategy, which looks to benefit from current aviation market growth as well as future disruption from the transition of helicopters to Electric Vertical Aircraft. Rob and I have worked together in various capacities for the last two decades, and I have tremendous confidence in his vision and commercialism as an entrepreneur.”

Cardinale adds, “Our investment style is to identify and scale investments in closely held founder businesses where we can bring true operational and financial benefits as well as strategic support by virtue of our domain expertise across our core industry verticals. In the case of Blade, we will leverage the breadth and depth of our aviation interests in addition to our media and entertainment and experiential consumer initiatives.”

“RedBird’s increased investment in Blade reflects our focus on strong companies that can achieve profitable growth with a proven track record of performing ahead of market expectations,” said Lauck.

Blade, best known for its shared helicopter services, describes itself as “a technology-powered, global air mobility platform committed to reducing travel friction by providing cost-effective air transportation alternatives to some of the most congested ground routes in the U.S. and abroad.”

It also offers by-the-seat scheduled flights between New York and Palm Beach, and Miami.

It predominantly uses helicopters and amphibious aircraft for its passenger routes and is also air medical transport of human organs for transplant.

Blade uses an asset-light model, meaning it doesn’t own or operate aircraft but instead sources from third-party providers.

For its part, RedBird has over $7.5 billion of assets under management.

Since its inception, RedBird has invested in over 30 platform companies and 80 add-on acquisitions, with a total enterprise value exceeding $30 billion, according to the announcement.

In early afternoon trading, shares in Blade were at $4.12, between its 52-week high and low of $9.90 and $3.02.

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