The deal to sell Raytheon Aircraft to the investment duo GS Capital Partners and Onex Partners for $3.3 billion in cash was finalized March 26 after slightly more than three months of negotiations and legal hurdles. It marked the end of the OEM’s more than 25 years as a relatively small part of a $20 billion public corporation and the beginning of Hawker Beechcraft, a name strong on the company’s history and brands. Included in the sale are facilities in Wichita and Salina, Kansas; Little Rock, Arkansas; Dallas; Chester, England; and all the company’s FBOs.
GS Capital, a Goldman Sachs affiliate, and Onex paid a hefty price for a company that’s been rebounding in recent years. Many industry insiders were surprised Raytheon was able to fetch such a high figure. But the company has numerous successful jets and a strong turboprop line that keeps soldiering on, so the owners of Hawker Beechcraft are clearly looking toward the long term, according to company chairman and CEO Jim Schuster.
Overall, Schuster said, there should not be any major directional shifts as a result of the new ownership. The company will focus on service and quality manufacturing. He said the FBO line is not critical to the future of the business, and thus will likely not expand. However, service centers are key, he said. “Goldman Sachs and Onex understand what it means to have strong support and service for an airplane,” he said.