September 24, 2012
Asset manager The Carlyle Group is set to retake ownership of one of the nation’s largest fixed-base operation (FBO) chains that it helped create over nearly three decades. But its reacquisition of Landmark Aviation is coming at a price that is believed to be $200 million more than when Carlyle sold the chain five years ago.
Carlyle and Landmark owners GTCR and Platform Partners announced the sale late Sept. 14, but did not disclose terms of the agreement. The transaction, which will be paid for through a Carlyle Partners $13.7 billion buyout fund, is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
Carlyle sold Landmark under a $1.9 billion package deal that also included StandardAero in August 2007 to Dubai Aerospace.
In that deal, the piece involving Landmark’s FBOs was expected to be valued at just more than $400 million. Dubai Aerospace turned around seven months later and sold the FBOs to equity fund manager GTCR and Platform Partners-backed Encore.
Carlyle this month emerged as the winning bidder for the chain over what is believed to have been a handful of other interested parties – mostly equity and other financial firms. The sale price is believed to be $625 million.
GTCR and Platform Partners bought the chain near the height of the market and managed it during the prolonged downturn – but still grew and strengthened it. The entity increased by more than 25% with bases in the U.S., Canada and France.
“Under our ownership, we expanded the network from 38 to 51 sites, acquiring nine new sites, and won open competitions at four sites where the airports had incumbent FBO leases expiring,” says GTCR Principal Craig Bondy.