Wheels Up Partners Holdings has entered into a definitive agreement to become publicly-traded via a merger with investment firm Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle, in a transaction that puts Wheels Up at an enterprise value of US$2.1 billion. The move will make Wheels Up the first private aviation platform to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Wheels Up was founded in 2013 by Kenny Dichter, who says he has pioneered the next evolution of private aviation, starting with a membership model and an exclusive fleet of King Air 350i aircraft. In the seven years since it was founded, Wheels Up has become a trusted market leader. Several strategic acquisitions and an exclusive co-marketing partnership with Delta Air Lines have expanded Wheels Up's operational and technological footprint.
The company's current management team will continue to lead Wheels Up. Aspirational's chairman and chief executive officer Ravi Thakran, former group chairman of LVMH south and southeast Asia and Australia/New Zealand and former managing partner of L Catterton Asia, will join the combined company's board of directors upon completion of the transaction.
Dichter says: “We are excited about crossing this milestone and our new partnership with Aspirational. We believe this will allow us to actualise our founding goal of democratising private aviation through our unique membership model, suite of products and benefits, and by bringing the shared economy to private aviation through our Wheels Up app. We are looking forward to joining forces with the Aspirational team as we continue to accelerate our global growth and expansion.”
Thakran adds: “When we founded Aspirational, Wheels Up was exactly the kind of company we wanted to partner with. Kenny and his world-class team have created a truly iconic brand built upon years of exceptional, personalised customer experiences. It is a clear leader and innovator in the space, and we look forward to working together to introduce Wheels Up to the global stage. We see many opportunities to leverage our experience and relationships to partner with other aspirational and luxury brands and to expand to international markets.”