RedBird Capital, the firm founded by former Goldman Sachs partner Gerry Cardinale, has acquired a 5% stake in private helicopter company Blade — known for whisking the well-heeled to and from the Hamptons.
The media, sports and entertainment-focused private equity firm is known for a slew of flashy hires and clients. Last month, RedBird brought on former CNN boss Jeff Zucker as an operating partner, and it recently teamed up with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon to launch their movie studio, Artists Equity.
The firm is also a stakeholder in Hollywood production company Skydance, as well as the XFL, the pro football league brought out of bankruptcy by Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia.
According to Blade CEO Rob Wiesenthal, the deal with RedBird will allow his company to continue to grow at a fast clip.
“Alongside RedBird, our continued focus on acquisitions of companies that benefit from our global brand, infrastructure, tech platform, and lean operating teams will accelerate our timeline to achieving profitability while enhancing our growth trajectory,” Wiesenthal said.
As part of the pact, RedBird partner Andrew Lauck will become a board observer.
Blade has invested in building out its fleet of helicopters to “electric vertical aircrafts,” a quieter mode of transportation that looks like they are part helicopter and part private plane. Blade is also one of the largest air medical transporters of human organs in the world.
“Blade is an integral part of our broader aviation investment strategy which looks to benefit from current aviation market growth as well as future disruption from the transition of helicopters to Electric Vertical Aircraft,” Cardinale said.
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