American Securities Beats Out KKR For Helicopter Company In $2.5B Deal

KKR won’t acquire helicopter rescue operator Air Methods (NASDAQ: AIRM), after all.

In what could be considered a mild upset (it’s March Madness, remember?), American Securities has agreed to purchase all outstanding shares of the Colorado-based company in a $2.5 billion deal, including debt.

KKR

KKR

The transaction comes after a Bloomberg report earlier this month claimed that KKR, among other investors, had bid for Air Methods and could merge it with portfolio company Air Medical Group, a rival helicopter rescue provider. KKR was expected to win the auction, according to the New York Post.

American Securities ultimately beat out the buyout behemoth with an offer of $43 per share, representing a roughly 11% premium on the day before the Bloomberg piece published. The equity value of the deal is about $1.57 billion.

The company had a strained relationship over the past few years with activist investor Voce Capital Management as rumors of a sale persisted. Unhappy with a dwindling stock price and a poor relationship with management, the hedge fund last month nominated four candidates, including its founder J. Daniel Plants, to the company’s board of directors.

Since 2009, the number of PE investments in the transportation sector has grown fairly steadily, with activity peaking in 2015 with 410 deals, according to the PitchBook Platform. The deal count dipped slightly last year, with 316 investments, the lowest mark since there were 277 deals in 2012.

Article By Adam Lewis, PitchBook