Singapore-based cargo handler SATS has reached an agreement to buy Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) from an affiliate of asset investor Cerberus Capital Management in a deal with an enterprise value of €2.25bn.
The transaction will bring together WFS, the world’s largest air cargo handler with operations in the Americas and Europe, and SATS, a provider of aviation services in Asia.
A joint statement said that the combination creates a first-of-its-kind global air cargo platform with scale and a network of stations across Asia, the Americas, and Europe.
The statement added that customers will benefit from the combined platform’s “broader suite of services, operational best practices, and integrated technology”.
Said Craig Smyth, WFS CEO: “WFS has become the leading global air cargo logistics provider thanks to our commitment to customers, our experienced team, and our partners at Cerberus. “As we look to our next stage of growth, this combination will deliver exciting benefits for our customers and our people. We have great respect for SATS and enjoy similar values. “By bringing together our respective strengths, we will be able to build on our trusted relationships around the world.”
Kerry Mok, SATS CEO, commented: “WFS is an industry leader because it has dedicated people and an unwavering commitment to customers. “Our proposed acquisition is a transformational opportunity for SATS and will create a global leader and a go-to provider of mission critical aviation services. In our newly combined markets, SATS and WFS will be at the heart of global trade flows, operating in the world’s busiest airports and supporting the biggest companies.”
Cerberus bought WFS In June 2018, in a deal worth €1.2bn.
Cerberus managing director Craig Brooks commented: “It has been a privilege to work alongside the talented WFS team and support the company in reaching new heights.
“Over the past four years, WFS has become a global leader by growing its network and investing in technology, operating capabilities, and customer solutions. SATS is a great partner for WFS and the combination will enhance growth and the value proposition for customers.”
Following the close of the transaction, WFS will become a wholly owned subsidiary of SATS and the WFS management team will continue to lead the business. WFS, with annual revenues of €1.8bn, has more than 30,000 employees serving over 300 customers at 164 major airports in 18 countries on five continents. SATS has customers in over 60 locations and 14 countries across the Asia Pacific, UK, and the Middle East. SATS has been listed on the Singapore Exchange since May 2000.
The WFS transaction is subject to customary regulatory and SATS shareholders’ approval and is expected to close by March 31, 2023. In connection with this transaction, WFS was advised by Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC as exclusive financial advisor, Linklaters LLP as lead counsel and Deloitte LLP as tax advisor.