Hawker Beechcraft Accepts $1.79 Billion Chinese Offer

Hawker Beechcraft Inc. has closed a deal to sell itself to Superior Aviation Beijing Company for $1.79 billion, and may draw even more bids in an auction as a result.

The company filed for bankruptcy on May 3, 2012, but Bloomberg Business Week reports that the deal will include payments from Superior over the next six weeks to keep the struggling Goldman Sachs Group Inc.-owned business jet manufacturer afloat until the deal closes, according to a statement released Monday by both companies.

The sale does not include Hawker’s defense business, and will remain subject to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s approval as well as the auction process. Market Watch reports that Robert S. “Steve” Miller, CEO of Hawker Beechcraft, Inc. stated of the sale that:

“Superior has had a long-standing interest in the commercial aircraft business of Hawker Beechcraft, having first approached the company several years ago regarding a potential strategic partnership. With Superior’s previous experience operating a U.S. business and its demonstrated ability to quickly restore a business to profitability after emerging from Chapter 11, we believe a transaction with Superior would maximize value for Hawker Beechcraft and its stakeholders.”

Miller went on to say that:

“Importantly, this combination would give Hawker Beechcraft greater access to the Chinese business and general aviation marketplace, which is forecast to grow more than 10 percent a year for the next 10-15 years. We look forward to working toward a definitive agreement.”

Perella Weinberg Partners LP was hired as a financial adviser for Hawker in December, and she worked with the company to identify 35 potential buyers, from strategic purchasers to private-equity firms, according to the bankruptcy court filing. Bankruptcy was the best option for Hawker Beechcraft following net losses of over $900 million in two years. The company currently owned by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has received eight bids between mid-May and mid-June.