Columbia Helicopters, Bristow Group Call Off $560M Acquisition Deal

Columbia Helicopters will not be acquired by a Texas-based company in a $560 million blockbuster deal announced late last year.  Instead, Columbia and the Houston-based Bristow Group Inc.  have mutually agreed to terminate the deal, according to a Feb. 11 press release.

Bristow, Columbia and Columbia’s shareholders have agreed to release each other from all claims in connection with the purchase agreement and the related transactions, and Bristow has agreed to pay Columbia $20 million.

“The decision to enter into a mutual termination of the purchase agreement was based on a number of developments following the entry into the agreement, which led both Bristow and Columbia to conclude that it was not possible to combine the two companies at this time,” Thomas C. Knudson, chairman of Bristow’s board of directors, stated. “We continue to value our relationship with Columbia and look forward to having the opportunity to work together in the future.” 

Steve Bandy, Columbia president and CEO, said: “We continue to believe in the potential for collaboration between Bristow and Columbia, and the companies are actively considering mutually beneficial opportunities to work together.”

Founded by Wes Lematta in 1957, Columbia is a leader in heavy-lift helicopter operations and manufacture, maintenance, repair and overhaul services. It serves clients across the globe in industries that include defense, firefighting, onshore oil and gas, infrastructure and forestry.

Columbia, privately held by the Lematta family and the company’s existing management, reported gross revenues of approximately $281 million in the previous 12 months and earnings of $117 million before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. It operates a fleet of 21 tandem rotor helicopters out of its home airport, Wes Lematta Field at Aurora State Airport.

Bristow Group is a publicly traded corporation that provides industrial aviation services, primarily in the offshore oil and gas industry. An article in The Oregonian three weeks ago said Columbia still intended to go through with the acquisition, despite the fact that Bristow’s stock price had plummeted since the deal was announced.

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