Wheels Up in talks with SPAC to go public at $2 billion valuation

Wheels Up

The Wheels Up move follows private aviation and eVTOL focused SPAC filings from Flexjet chairman Kenn Ricci, Surf Air, and Blade in recent months

This morning, a report from Reuters claims Wheels Up is in discussions with Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle Corp to go public through a merger with the SPAC blank-check acquisition company. The article said the deal could value the private aviation provider at “more than $2 billion.”

According to a Private Jet Card Comparisons’ analysis, Wheels Up is the second-largest operator of for-hire private aircraft behind NetJets with an estimated 8.3% of the market.

Blade set to go public in SPAC

Fly Blade spac

The deal values Blade at an estimated pro forma equity value of $825 million

Blade Urban Air Mobility follows SurfAir and Kenn Ricci, the principal of Flexjet, Sentient, FXAIR, PrivateFly owner Directional Aviation, into the public markets. Like the West Coast flight-sharing service and Ricci’s Zanite Acquisition Corporation, the vehicle is a special purpose acquisition company known as a SPAC.

A look back at who received CARES Act Payroll Support Payments

CARES Act private aviation recipients

The Payroll Support Program under Division A, Title IV, Subtitle B of the CARES Act provided payroll support to passenger air carriers, cargo air carriers, and certain contractors for the continuation of payment of employee wages, salaries, and benefits. Here’s who got how much

It’s uncertain when there will be more government for the airline industry, and if so, will it extend to the private aviation side?

While the CARES Act payments have been widely credited for helping business jet operators get back on their feet quickly, they also have detractors, including NetJets, the largest private jets operator.

Let’s make a deal. The private jet M&A market is hot, but not without risks

Private aviation M&A

Vista Global’s deal yesterday with Red Wing that brings it 15 light jets to XOJET is the latest and doesn’t look to be the last

In just over 3 years, we’ve tracked over 50 deals, fundraises, launches, and bankruptcies

(Updated Jan. 11, 2021) The COVID-19 crisis may be bringing the already simmering mergers and acquisitions market for private jet operators and brokers back to a boil.

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

Flexjet

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.

Surf Air raises $200 million; hires former Virgin America CEO

Surf Air raises $200 million

Surf Air Mobility says it has received a commitment for $200 million in advance of plans to go public

Surf Air Mobility, the product of a recent merger between Surf Air and Blackbird, will announce next week it has secured a $200 million investment commitment from Global Emerging Markets Group (GEM). The company bills itself as “a $3.4 billion alternative investment group that manages a diverse set of investment vehicles focused on emerging markets across the world.”

Clay Lacy, Jet Linx lead private jet CARES Act recipients

Clay Lacy

Clay Lacy Aviation received $26.9 million while Jet Linx Aviation was given $20 million, according to U.S. Treasury documents

NetJets, Wheels Up, Flexjet, XOJET Aviation and related companies were notably absent from the Treasury Department’s list of COVID-19 aide recipients

See the full list of aviation companies receiving CARES Act Coronavirus financial support

In a list dated April 27th, the U.S. Department of the Treasury published names of 96 companies receiving some of the $32 billion earmarked to preserve aviation jobs. The list includes both airlines and private jet operators.

The act specified grants needed to be based on payroll expenses from April 2019 through September 2019, subject to proration. Funds must be used for the continuation of payment of employee wages, salaries, and benefits. 

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