LOS ANGELES (June 19, 2018) – Platinum Equity today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to sell Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) to affiliates of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. in a transaction valued at approximately €1.2 billion. The sale is expected to close during Q4 2018, subject to regulatory approval and certain closing conditions.
Since Platinum Equity acquired the company in 2015, WFS has grown significantly, both organically and through a transformative add-on acquisition, and is now the world’s largest air cargo handler and one of the world’s leading providers of ground handling and technical services, with annual revenues of more than €1.2 billion.
“Through a combination of growth and operational initiatives, WFS has evolved and expanded significantly over the past three years and today enjoys record top-line and earnings performance,” said Platinum Equity Partner Louis Samson.
During Platinum Equity’s ownership, WFS strengthened its leadership team underneath CEO Craig Smyth, installed new financial controls and other best practices throughout the organization, and expanded the company’s footprint. In February 2016 WFS acquired Consolidated Aviation Services (CAS), one of the leading cargo handlers in the United States. Combined, they currently employ approximately 22,800 employees and serve 300 airlines at 198 airports in 22 countries on five continents.
“In recent years, WFS has successfully transformed into a leading cargo and ground handler with a truly global presence,” said Mr. Smyth. “Platinum Equity’s financial and operational support has been instrumental to our success. They invested in our growth and as a result we are well positioned for long-term success.”
Mr. Samson said Europe is an important focus for Platinum Equity as it continues deploying its most recent fund, Platinum Equity Capital Partners IV, a $6.5 billion global buyout fund.
“We have more than 20 years of experience in Europe, a dedicated team in London and our portfolio companies employ more than 16,000 people in the region,” said Mr. Samson. “We have the capital base and the depth of experience to continue growing our European portfolio and will remain very active in this market.”
Platinum Equity recently completed the $1.3 billion acquisition of Wyndham’s European vacation rental business and in Q4 2017 acquired Pattonair, a global aerospace and defense supply chain provider headquartered in Derby, UK.
Other European investments in Platinum Equity’s current portfolio include Exterion Media, Terratest, Ecka Granules and Electro Rent.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley served as financial advisors to Platinum Equity and Baker McKenzie was Platinum Equity’s legal advisor.
About Platinum Equity
Founded in 1995 by Tom Gores, Platinum Equity (www.platinumequity.com) is a global investment firm with $13 billion of assets under management and a portfolio of approximately 40 operating companies that serve customers around the world. The firm is currently investing from Platinum Equity Capital Partners IV, a $6.5 billion global buyout fund. Platinum Equity specializes in mergers, acquisitions and operations – a trademarked strategy it calls M&A&O® – acquiring and operating companies in a broad range of business markets, including manufacturing, distribution, transportation and logistics, equipment rental, metals services, media and entertainment, technology, telecommunications and other industries. Over the past 22 years Platinum Equity has completed more than 200 acquisitions.
Founded in 1971, WFS (www.wfs.aero) is the world’s largest air cargo handler and one of the leading providers of ground handling and technical services with annual revenues of over €1.2 billion. Its 22,800 employees serve over 300 airlines at 198 major airports in 22 countries on five continents.