Fractional industry market leader NetJets has purchased jet card provider Marquis Jet Partners, which sells 25-hour jet cards offering flight time on NetJets airplanes. Card buyers purchase a “pre-paid sub-lease of a specific aircraft,” according to Marquis, which owns 65 airplanes in the NetJets fleet. Marquis founder Kenny Dichter is now vice chairman of NetJets and reports to NetJets chairman and CEO David Sokol.
Marquis Jet engaged the services of an investment-banking firm for the transaction and solicited bids from at least several companies, according to an authoritative source who was involved in the bidding process and asked not to be named. NetJets would not comment on this and disclosed no details of the transaction, but Sokol said that the deal “will yield meaningful cost benefits.” NetJets stated that the decision to buy Marquis Jet was part of its 10-year business plan.
The purchase comes as somewhat of a surprise, since Sokol said in a Bloomberg Television interview last summer that Marquis Jet was the “only weak spot out there” and added that “they’re shrinking substantially.” Today, however, Marquis Jet and NetJets year-over-year sales are up 6 and 8 percent, respectively, according to the Columbus, Ohio-based NetJets. “This [acquisition] allows us to use the card and our fractional-share program to customize products for owners,” Sokol said. “It gives us pricing flexibility by controlling both.”