M&A

AE Industrial Partners acquires second unmanned aircraft business

Nearly eight months on from an initial acquisition, private equity firm AE Industrial Partners has identified a second business to add to its unmanned and autonomous investment platform.

AE Industrial said Tuesday it has acquired Jennings Aeronautics, a small unmanned aircraft maker that will combine with the UAV Factory business that AEI acquired in January. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

JAI CEO John Purvis has been appointed CEO of the combined company, while JAI’s founder Gordon Jennings will also join the larger entity in another senior leadership role.

Founded nearly 30 years ago, JAI designs its vehicles with electric vertical takeoff capability and ruggedized solid oxide fuel cells with the goal to have both large payload capacity and portability.

That company also concentrates on the unmanned platform’s augmenting technologies and services including autonomous flight control software, avionics, ground control station software, systems integration, design engineering, imaging payloads and airframe fabrication.

Kirkland & Ellis served as legal adviser to AEI and UAV Factory, while William Blair and PricewaterhouseCoopers were financial advisers to the acquirers. Orrick was legal adviser to JAI.

About the Author

Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at rwilkers@washingtontechnology.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also connect with him on LinkedIn.

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