AE Industrial Partners completes acquisition of Columbia

Columbia Helicopters

Columbia Helicopters

AE Industrial Partners has completed its acquisition of heavy-lift helicopter operator Columbia Helicopters.

The private equity firm first announced its intention to acquire Columbia in July this year, signing an initial agreement to purchase the operator for an unspecified amount.

Back in November 2018 the ailing Columbia signed an initial definitive agreement with Bristow Group to be acquired for $560 million. Bristow planned to diversify its fleet away from oil and gas operations by acquiring the heavy-lift operator. That acquisition fell through in February this year.

According to the terms of the now-completed acquisition, Columbia’s acting CEO Steve Brandy will remain in his role while the company’s owner Nancy Lematta will retain a significant interest in the company.

AE Industrial Partners manages a portfolio of 11 aviation companies. The firm has raised more than $2 billion over its lifetime according to Crunchbase figures.

Regarding the acquisition Kirk Konert, principal at AEI said: “Columbia is a clear industry leader with a storied history, offering a unique and differentiated platform, and a strong track record of best-in-class aviation services.

“AEI is excited to support the company, as we believe there is a significant opportunity to build on the capabilities that Columbia has developed over the last 60 years, and expand into new markets and services. With the support of Columbia’s outstanding management team, we look forward to helping the company take the next step in its evolution.”

Kirkland & Ellis served as legal advisor, Rothschild & Co served as financing advisor, and PricewaterhouseCoopers served as financial advisor to AEI. Tonkon Torp served as legal advisor and Greenhill & Co., served as financial advisor to Columbia.

Click here to read more about the acquisition.