Australia-based Macquarie Group has entered into a purchase agreement to buy the assets of helicopter lessor Waypoint out of bankruptcy for $650 million. This represents a deep discounting of Waypoint’s fleet of 165 helicopters, which the company valued at $1.5 billion in bankruptcy papers filed just last month. Macquarie plans to combine Waypoint’s rotorcraft assets with its own.
A diversified global leasing company with $381 billion worth of assets under management, Macquarie is mainly in the commercial aviation and rail sectors. It entered the rotorcraft sector in 2013 with the launch of U.S.-based Macquarie Rotorcraft Leasing. Macquarie’s acquisition of Waypoint is expected to close in the first quarter, subject to bankruptcy court and regulatory approval. Waypoint will continue to operate in the ordinary course of business until financial close with the assistance of $45 million of debtor-in-possession financing provided by existing lenders.
Macquarie’s move comes a year after reports surfaced that it was considering making an offer for GE Capital Aviation Service’s helicopter leasing unit, Milestone Aviation Group. At the time, analysts valued Milestone at approximately $4 billion. The Waypoint acquisition more than doubles Macquarie’s existing rotorcraft fleet and positions it to more effectively compete with Milestone. Stephen Cook, Macquarie’s global head of transportation finance said the purchase of Waypoint places Macquarie Rotorcraft Leasing “to be a pre-eminent provider of helicopter leasing and financing products.”