Dubai-based Vista Global to acquire 'Uber of the skies'

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Wed 10 Apr 2019 08:40 AM

Dubai-based Vista Global to acquire 'Uber of the skies'

Jetsmarter has previously raised funding from Saudi Royal Family and rapper and businessman Jay Z, which gave the company a $1.5bn valuation

Dubai-headquartered Vista Global has entered into an agreement to acquire private jet booking app JetSmarter.

Commonly dubbed the ‘Uber of the skies’, Jetsmarter previously raised funding from a range of investors, including the Saudi royal family and rapper and businessman Jay Z, which gave the company a $1.5 billion valuation.

Gulf investors contribute to $105m raised by private jet start-up JetSmarter

JetSmarter said it raised the fresh funding at a $1.5 billion valuation, making it one of the highest-valued start-ups in the sector of all-you-can-fly services

The app, which has two million downloads to date, allows both members and on-demand customers to book private or shared trips instantly.

Vista Global said JetSmarter’s marketplace technology "will improve the ease and speed of the booking process for the 150,000 passengers travelling with any of its companies each year".

“Any jet can be supplied into this marketplace and the buyers get an instant booking,” Vista founder Thomas Flohr, a Swiss billionaire, said in an interview on Bloomberg TV.

“Anywhere in the world you can go on the JetSmarter app and you get a price and Vista Global’s execution capability.”

The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter, subject to customary closing conditions.

As part of the transaction, all JetSmarter investors, including Clearlake Capital and Jefferies Financial Group, will become investors in Vista Global.

Headquartered at DIFC in Dubai, Vista Global offers on demand global flight services through Vistajet and aircraft leasing and finance through Vista Lease. It also has an aviation technology pillar TechX.

Vista’s business is built around VistaJet, which operates more than 70 directly owned corporate aircraft that can be booked for individual trips. It also bought XOJET from private equity firm TPG last year, adding a fleet of smaller planes.

The group is expanding as more companies opt to purchase flying hours on private jets rather than own or operate aircraft directly, a trend that shows no signs of abating, according to Flohr. Its biggest rival, Columbus, Ohio-based NetJets, is part of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.