Piper Sale Rumor Downplayed
Piper Aircraft is always for sale, but that doesnít mean itís being sold, according to some cryptic reaction to rumors the Florida planemaker is on the block again. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, AOPA apparently fueled the rumors by running an item in its EAA AirVenture coverage (which we couldnít find) saying the current owners, American Capital Strategies, might be "shopping the company to potential buyers." American Capital didn't exactly quell the rumor by telling AOPA that "most companies are for sale for the right price." So what was Piper management's reaction? Piper spokesman Steve Johnston told the Sun-Sentinel that the company always has been and always will be for sale until the right buyer comes along. "At any given time most companies are for sale at the right price, so we find it surprising that anyone would find that surprising," Johnston said. As cold and indifferent the lack of sentiment may be for one of the oldest names in general aviation, it's just business, according to one analyst. Richard Aboulafia told the Sun-Sentinel that equity funds like American Capital make their money by buying up companies on the ropes, putting them back in shape and then selling them. Piper has rebounded in recent years, is launching its first jet next year, and is scouting locations to build it. In the meantime, Piper plans to sell 216 aircraft in the coming year, 50 of which will be its top-of-the-line Meridian.