Thursday, September 20, 2018

Vista Global acquires XOJET

Thomas Flohr’s Vista Global has acquired XOJET, the third largest US business jet charter operator by flight hours.

Vista Global says that the acquisition of XOJET will allow it to expand further in the US. It launched VistaJet in America in September 2013.

“The journey started when I first saw an opportunity in the fragmented and inconsistent offering across the industry. Vista Global’s mission is to provide customer-centric solutions for every segment of business aviation and today’s announcement is a major step in that direction,” said Thomas Flohr, Vista Global founder and chairman. “This acquisition is the perfect addition to our global business. XOJET’s strength in North America and its reputation for offering great value perfectly complement VistaJet and the other businesses in the group.”

XOJET’s largest shareholders were TPG, one of the world’s most-successful aviation investors, and Mubadalla, the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi. Although TPG was the largest shareholder, Mubadalla financed the fleet and held significant amounts of XOJET debt.

XOJET will continue to operate independently, under a new joint venture company, with control and leadership remaining in US hands to meet airline ownership regulations. The carrier has a fleet of 44 business jets, which includes 27 Cessna Citation Xs.

Corporate Jet Investor understands that 10 companies were originally interested in acquiring the company, with a final round of bidding including three companies. Shareholders first held talks during the 2017 NBAA convention.

“I am incredibly proud to be making today’s announcement which will see our company become part of a fantastic family of brands.” said Bradley Stewart, chairman & CEO, XOJET. “Becoming part of Vista Global will enable XOJET to achieve our dream of becoming a truly global business, providing us with the very best technology and infrastructure. I believe that Vista Global and XOJET are fundamentally aligned in our commitment to serving clients. I am looking forward to working with the Vista Global team and its companies in the future.”

The price has not been announced with the deal expected to close during the third quarter of 2018.

Jefferies was the financial advisor to Vista Global, with Latham & Watkins legal advisors. Perella Weinberg Partners advised XOJET.

ARGUS says that XOJET flew 46,739 flight hours in the first six months of 2018. GAMA Aviation (which operates for itself and for Wheels Up) flew 72,885 hours followed by Executive Jet Management with 58,305 hours.

(Alud Davies - Editor-at-large Corporate Jet Investor)