OKLAHOMA CITY–Acorn Growth Companies, a private equity firm investing exclusively in aerospace, defense and intelligence, announced today the acquisition of Berry Aviation, Inc. (Berry Aviation), headquartered in San Marcos, Texas. The acquisition marks Acorn’s larges acquisition to date and fourth overall investment in its fourth investment fund. Stanley Finch has been promoted to CEO and president and will lead the company.
“Berry Aviation has a proven track record and developed excellent past performance supporting the U.S. government and its allies, while also offering scheduled and on-demand freight and fixedbase operator (FBO) services to businesses and individual operators,” said Rick Nagel, managing partner of Acorn Growth Companies. “Berry Aviation is a great Acorn fit, having built a track record and experienced tremendous success in this market segment, which was marked by a great win for our investors with the sale of our Integrated Defense group in 2017. With the growing demand by the military for contractors to support operations and logistics abroad, Berry Aviation and its team are uniquely positioned to grow and expand their operations worldwide in both government services and cargo.”
Founded in 1983, Berry Aviation is a trusted leader in private aviation, with a portfolio of services that includes government, private charter, scheduled and on-demand freight, component maintenance repair and overhaul, and fixed base operations. In 1987, Berry Aviation extended its aviation services by becoming a Department of Defense CARB-approved air carrier with worldwide operating authority and has provided specialty aviation services to various branches of the U.S. military and other U.S. government organizations. Berry Aviation conducts contiguous U.S. and outside the contiguous U.S. (OCONUS) operations with a fleet of over 25 aircraft, with past and current OCONUS operations including, Hawaii, Marshall Islands, Johnston Island, Afghanistan, Peru and Africa.
“I could not find a better partner than Acorn,” said Sonny Berry, founder, Berry Aviation, Inc. “The reputation and results Acorn has in investing in the people, new products and processes of its portfolio companies is impressive. I know as a continuing investor, we have an owner who can bring Berry to the next level – entering into new markets and expanding those where we are a leader in today.”
Berry Aviation has grown into a dynamic, customer-focused company with the knowledge, experience and manpower to operate on short notice with turnkey safe aviation services. All flight operations are conducted by comprehensively trained and experienced pilots working closely alongside 24-hour dispatch personnel to maintain a thorough emphasis on safety and on-time arrivals.
“I look forward to growing the business with Acorn and the 250 outstanding men and women of Berry Aviation around the world whose passion for aviation is demonstrated every day in support of our warfighters and commercial customers,” Finch said. “Adding talent, operational capacity and innovative new services to support the needs of customers globally will continue to be a top priority in the weeks and months ahead.”
Senior debt financing was provided by Regions Bank, and mezzanine financing was provided in partnership from Congruent Capital, Independent Bankers Capital Fund, and Main Street Capital.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
About Berry Aviation, Inc.
Berry Aviation, Inc. is a trusted leader in private aviation, with a portfolio of parts and services that includes Government, Private Charter, both Scheduled and On-Demand Freight, Maintenance, and FBO operations. Since its founding in 1983, BAI has grown into a dynamic company with a focus on providing innovative solutions within the Aerospace industry that increase value for customers and end-users. Headquartered in San Marcos, Texas, the company has the knowledge, experience, and manpower necessary to operate on short notice with safe, high quality aviation services. More information on the company’s awards, services, certification, history, and industry leadership. www.berryaviation.com
About Acorn Growth Companies
Acorn Growth Companies is a middle market private equity firm focused exclusively on Aerospace & Defense. Acorn invests solely in operating companies that strive to enhance global mobility and protect national interests. Acorn has a formidable reputation in the industry and is recognized for its deep understanding of the Aerospace & Defense markets, with proprietary access to the best companies within these sectors. With operational expertise and its ability to lead and manage investments through variable economic and industry cycles, Acorn works in tandem with management to build its portfolio companies into significant market leaders. AcornGrowthCompanies.com
Kath Searle, Acorn
Brandon Bradford, Acorn