Wheels Up Experience Inc. is preparing to cede control to investors including Knighthead Capital Management and Certares Management as part of a new financing deal, according to a statement seen by Bloomberg.
(Bloomberg) — Wheels Up Experience Inc. is preparing to cede control to investors including Knighthead Capital Management and Certares Management as part of a new financing deal, according to a statement seen by Bloomberg.
Affiliates of Knighthead and Certares, alongside Delta Air Lines Inc. and other investors, have agreed to provide $500 million in new financing to the private jet company. In exchange, they’ll receive 95% of Wheels Up’s equity.
Delta, which previously provided Wheels Up with short-term financing, is providing $150 million of a new $400 million term loan and an $100 million credit line.
The fresh cash will help support the firm’s operations and its new business plan, interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer Todd Smith said in an interview. Earlier this year, the company has made changes to focus its flights on the East and West coasts, while running a charter model for the rest of the country.
Wheels Up is expected to boost its corporate business given Delta’s access to those accounts, Smith said. Customers who have prepaid Wheels Up will have the flexibility to use the funds on commercial flights with Delta.
Delta Chief Financial Officer Dan Janki will join Wheels Up’s board of directors as chairman, according to the statement.
New York-based Wheels Up, which lets customers book private charter flights by the hour, has been working with Jefferies Financial Group Inc. and Kirkland & Ellis on ways to improve profitability, Bloomberg previously reported. The firm, which went public in a 2021 merger with a special purpose acquisition company, has seen its shares slide 86% this year through Monday.
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