Textron, the manufacturer of Cessna aircraft and Bell helicopters, agreed to buy Beechcraft for $1.4 billion to expand its lineup of propeller-driven aircraft as business-jet sales slump.
Textron will purchase all outstanding equity interests in Beech Holdings, the parent of Beechcraft, the Providence, R.I.-based company said Thursday. The deal will be financed by a combination of available cash and up to $1.1 billion in new debt.
Adding Beechcraft models such as the twin-engine King Air will complement a Cessna lineup that ranges from two-seaters to the Caravan turboprop used to fly people and cargo to small airports. That market segment is less competitive than private jets, where Cessna has struggled because it doesn’t build the large, long-range planes now favored by corporate buyers.
“Terrific product fit,” Cai von Rumohr, a Cowen & Co. analyst in Boston who rates Textron as outperform, said in a Dec. 23 note to clients. “Cessna and Beechcraft have complementary product lines, with Cessna focused on bizjets and Beech on turboprops, pistons.”
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Squeezed by waning private-jet demand and a drop in U.S. arms spending, the former Hawker Beechcraft filed for bankruptcy in May 2012. The Wichita, Kan.-based company left court protection in February 2013 and exited the jet business.
Beechcraft had revived an auction process a year after its deal to sell itself to a Chinese jet-maker collapsed. It had drawn takeover interest from at least three suitors, including Brazil’s Embraer and India’s Mahindra & Mahindra and Textron, Bloomberg News reported in October.