Seeking Raytheon Aircraft's Lucky Buyer
Three leveraged buyout firms have made final bids that (some believe) range near $3 billion for Raytheon Aircraft, a company that last year claimed 416 aircraft sold for a cumulative $2.9 billion, which along with strong forecasts may represent a relative boom, making the company more attractive to potential buyers. Outspoken piston pilots aware of pricing of new Beechcraft singles have long suggested that marketers at Raytheon have approached the market wondering just how much they have to charge before people stop buying their aircraft. The theory may stem from Raytheon's long-standing position that Beech Aircraft is not part of its core business. For its part, Raytheon Aircraft added 35 positions at its Salina manufacturing facilities and reported plans to add 55 more over the next six months, bringing the workforce to 425 strong.
Firms said to be involved in the bidding include Carlyle Group, Cerberus Capital Management and Onex Corp. of Canada. Raytheon Aircraft competes directly with General Dynamics' Gulfstream unit, Textron's Cessna unit and Canada's Bombardier. A recent surge in sales, particularly on the bizjet side, has put the company in a profit position and the forecast for continued strong sales in that sector has made the company an attractive acquisition target, according to various analysts.