Vista Global, parent of charter operator VistaJet, will acquire per-seat charter broker and digital app developer JetSmarter, the companies announced today. The acquisition caps a turbulent history for JetSmarter, founded in 2012, whose per-seat charter sales model and free seat offering drew thousands of members and significant media attention before changes in program rules and heavy-handed management tactics provoked a backlash among customers and extensive negative publicity. Yet the proprietary booking technology underpinning JetSmarter’s operations has long enjoyed industry respect.
This acquisition marks “an important milestone for Vista Global: accelerating and executing our vision of digitizing the entire private aviation offering,” said Vista Global founder and chairman Thomas Flohr. “Customers today want speed, reliability, and value...JetSmarter’s technology will digitalize Vista Global’s market-leading customer offering to program members and on-demand customers.”
The move comes on the heels of JetSmarter’s reported agreement to settle a class-action arbitration stemming from members’ claims the company’s rules changes vitiated promised benefits.
The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter. As part of the transaction, all JetSmarter investors, inclusive of Clearlake Capital and Jefferies Financial Group, will become investors in Vista Global. Jefferies LLC acted as financial advisor to JetSmarter.