Ardent Acquisition Corp.to acquire Avantair Inc. the exclusive North American provider of fractional aircraft shares in the Piaggio Aero Avanti P.180 aircraft.
Ardent Acquisition Corp.announced it has entered into definitive agreements to acquire privately held Avantair, Inc.
Avantair is the exclusive North American provider of fractional aircraft shares in the Piaggio Aero Avanti P.180 aircraft. Avantair is a rapidly growing provider of fractional ownerships of piloted aircraft for personal and business use, in addition to providing fixed base operation ("FBO") services.
Ardent will change its name to "Avantair" and will apply for a NASDAQ listing.
Based in Clearwater, Fl, Avantair was founded in 2002. Under the leadership of founder and CEO, Steve Santo, Avantair has become the fifth largest provider in the fractional aircraft market with the world's largest fleet of Piaggio Aero Avanti P.180's. The Piaggio Aero “Avanti” is the world's fastest turboprop rivals the speed of most light cabin jets. The aircraft also boasts the same size cabin cross section as a super-midsize aircraft and has the benefit of the fuel efficiency of a turboprop. its high speed, short field operation and high utilization efficiency which contribute to obtain the lowest operating costs.
Avantair currently manages a fleet of 25 P.180 Avanti and has another 58 new “Avanti II” (the new P.180 model, equipped with the fully digital avionic system of the latest generation “Pro Line 21”) on order.
Avantair was formed in response to the increasing demand for commercial airline alternatives for frequent travellers and the rising popularity of fractional ownership programs among individual and corporate travellers.
The company's business model capitalizes on two complementary emerging trends: an increased number of travelers seeking alternatives to commercial airlines and the economic attractiveness of fractional ownership structures among individual and corporate travelers.
Avantair's fleet of P.180 Avanti aircraft and professional pilots offer individuals and companies the advantages of airplane ownership and private travel including maximum flexibility, luxury, time savings, convenience and safety. Previously only considered by large companies and very high net worth individuals, Avantair is lowering the cost of private aviation to a broader range of consumers.
In addition to providing fractional aircraft ownership, Avantair is a fixed base operator FBOs should provide Avantair with strategic geographic bases of operation, a diversified revenue base beginning in F2007 and reduced repositioning costs, by providing additional maintenance, cleaning and fueling facilities.
Mr. Barry Gordon, Chairman and CEO of Ardent stated, "We are extremely excited about this transaction as we believe Avantair operates in a unique space in the fractional aircraft market, bridging the gap between commercial aviation and traditional fractional ownership. The company, led by a strong management team, has had exceptional growth over the past three years and is well-positioned to take advantage of industry trends that are propelling the growth of the fractional aircraft market. In addition, upon closing of the transaction, Avantair will be the only publicly-traded pure play fractional aircraft company."
Mr. Steve Santo, CEO of Avantair added, "We believe individuals and businesse are becoming more aware of the benefits of private aviation. Avantair offers a unique alternative to commercial aviation and other fractional operators at a very competitive price point. This transaction will provide Avantair with the necessary capital to grow the fleet and expand the number of fixed base operations, which will provide economies of scale and enable us to continue our strong track record of revenue growth. Speaking on behalf of the management team of Avantair, we welcome the wealth of aviation and public company experience that the entire Ardent management team brings to the business combination and believe they will be a great asset to Avantair."
Following the completion of the transaction, the board of directors of Avantair will consist of seven members, with three members nominated by Ardent, three members nominated by Avantair and one member to be mutually agreed upon by Ardent and Avantair. Mr. Gordon will serve as the non-executive Chairman of the Board
Headquartered in Clearwater, FL, Avantair Inc. is the exclusive North American provider of fractional aircraft shares in the Piaggio Avanti P.180 aircraft. Avantair is the fifth largest company in the North American fractional aircraft industry and the only standalone fractional operator. The company currently manages a fleet of 25 planes with another 58 on order. With operations in 5 states and approximately 250 employees, Avantair offers private travel solutions for individuals and companies at a fraction of the cost of whole aircraft ownership. More information about Avantair is available on its website, www.avantair.com.
About Ardent Acquisition Corp.
Ardent Acquisition Corp. was formed on September 14, 2004 to serve as a vehicle to effect a business combination with an operating business. Ardent consummated its initial public offering on March 2, 2005, generating gross proceeds of $41.4 million from the sale of 6.9 million units, including the full exercise of the underwriters' over-allotment option. Each unit was comprised of one share of Ardent common stock and two warrants, each with an exercise price of $5.00. As of June 30, 2006, Ardent held approximately $37.9 million in a trust account maintained by an independent trustee, which will be released to Ardent upon the consummation of the business combination. EarlyBirdCapital, the managing underwriter of Ardent's initial public offering, is advising Ardent on the Avantair Acquisition.