When Raytheon sold Beechcraft for what its current CEO, Bill Boisture, once called a “startling price” of $3.3 billion in early 2007, buyers Goldman Sachs and Onex Corp. were banking on the continuation of the then flourishing business jet and general aviation market. They each put in $500 million of their own cash, but borrowed additional funds for the acquisition. The result was a company “leveraged to the hilt,” and, when the downturn that pummeled the economy beginning in 2007 and impacted industry in 2008-09, “its fate was sealed,” Boisture, who took the helm of Beechcraft in 2009, said. “You simply had to do the math” to know that restructuring was needed.
Six years later, Beechcraft has reorganized under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, pared down its employee base and shuttered its business jet production. And its asking price—$1.4 billion—is less than half of what it was in 2007.