Private-equity Firm RedBird Boosts Blade Stake

 - January 18, 2023, 10:06 AM
Blade's New York City service boasts a 5 minute flight to local airports. (Photo: AIN)

Blade Air Mobility’s stock surged 11 percent in early trading this morning after the Wall Street Journal reported that private-equity firm RedBird Capital Partners had taken a more than 5 percent stake in the company. RedBird founder Gerry Cardinale has been a personal investor in Blade since 2016.

Over the last 12 months, Blade shares have shed 32 percent of their value, but are up more than 21 percent year-to-date. Blade has a market capitalization of $300 million. 

RedBird holds positions in media and professional sports teams, including the Boston Red Sox, and Blade founder and CEO Rob Wiesenthal said he believes combining passenger air mobility with Redbird’s entertainment/event portfolio presents a growth opportunity. 

Nearly half of Blade’s revenues are now generated by organ transport via its MediMobility division. Those revenues grew by 801 percent to $20.2 million in the third quarter from the prior-year period due to organic growth of 174 percent and the acquisition of Trinity Air Medical. MediMobility is now the largest dedicated air transporter of human transplant organs in the U.S., serving 67 transplant centers and organ procurement organizations.

However, Blade continues to lose money even as passenger and medical revenues increase. In the third quarter, Blade lost $9.2 million on revenues of $45.7 million.