Atlantic Aviation on Tuesday announced a blockbuster merger with Ross Aviation that will bring the latter’s 19 FBOs—including three airports where it has two separate FBOs—under the Atlantic brand. The transaction, the terms of which were undisclosed, will require regulatory approval and is expected to close in the first half of 2022. Under the deal, the Ross Aviation locations will be rebranded as Atlantic Aviation facilities.
Once completed, the deal will increase Atlantic’s footprint to nearly 90 locations in the U.S. and Caribbean and represents Atlantic’s first major deal since the company changed hands from Macquarie Infrastructure Investments to KKR at the end of September.
Ross Aviation is owned by private equity firm KSL Capital Partners, which is quite familiar with Atlantic's new ownership. “KSL and KKR have a successful history of strategic partnership that dates back nearly three decades,” said Dan Rohan, a partner with KSL. “Merging with Atlantic Aviation and investing in the combined business alongside KKR is a natural evolution for Ross Aviation and KSL.”
For the two service providers, the deal seems tailor-made. “If you overlay the two footprints, they are extremely complementary,” said Atlantic CEO Lou Pepper in an interview with AIN. “Places like Westchester County [New York], Scottsdale [Arizona], and Bedford [Massachusetts], places like that, [are] extremely valuable for our chain.”
The only redundant location between the two companies is at Witham Field Airport in Stuart, Florida, where Atlantic already operates the other FBO on the field. It remains to be seen if the company would be forced to divest one of the locations there.
For Ross Aviation founder and chairman Jeffrey Ross, this is the third time he has built up an FBO chain to have it become part of a larger organization. “I’ve done it a number of times,” Ross told AIN, “but this is the ultimate, this is what we were hoping for a long time, association with the ‘best other’ FBO chain in the world.”