Beechcraft Sold Again (?)

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For the second time in two months, a publication is reporting that Beechcraft is about to be sold and Beechcraft is again refusing to confirm the report. As we reported in October, Bloomberg quoted unnamed sources saying negotiations were under way to sell the storied but frequently troubled aviation icon for about $1.5 billion to one of several suitors, most likely Cessna. On Friday, the Financial Times (registration required) narrowed it down to Textron, the increasingly independently aviation-oriented parent company of Cessna, for $1.4 billion. Although neither company will comment on reports like this, Textron's recent development of the Scorpion light tactical jet in cooperation with a somewhat mysterious company called Airland LLC may have something to do with it (or it might not).

Beechcraft, formerly known as Hawker Beechcraft, emerged from bankruptcy in February and shed the jet business (which included composite designs, and the Scorpion is largely composite), concentrating instead on the consistently popular King Air line and the Texan II trainer, and it also retained the Bonanza and Baron piston products. It has speculatively announced a turboprop single program (a gap in Cessna/Textron's product line). The Financial Times didn't offer a timeline for the potential sale and neither did Bloomberg's earlier scoop.