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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Global Eagle Acquisition Buys Row 44

Emily Feliz

Global Eagle Acquisition Corp. signed an agreement to acquire Row 44 and an 86 percent stake in Advanced Inflight Alliance (AIA) to create "the largest entertainment and connectivity platform for the worldwide airline industry." Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Germany-based AIA is the leading supplier of games, movies, general entertainment and applications to the airline industry, serving more than 130 airlines worldwide. Row 44, of Westlake Village, Calif., is a satellite-based broadband service provider to the global airline industry, with its inflight entertainment connectivity system currently installed on more than 400 aircraft worldwide.

"By combining AIA's access to the installed in-flight entertainment market with Row 44's Wi-Fi to mobile device capability, Global Eagle has potential access to 100 percent of the airline passenger experience, creating an addressable market as large as the global airline industry. This is exactly the kind of worldwide digital media opportunity we've been seeking for Global Eagle since our IPO," said Harry Sloan, chairman and CEO of Global Eagle.

Following the closing, Global Eagle will own 100 percent of the equity of Row 44 and approximately 86% of the issued and outstanding shares of AIA, and be renamed Global Eagle Entertainment. 

All the members of Row 44 and AIA senior management teams, including John LaValle as CEO of Row 44 and Louis Belanger-Martin as CEO of AIA, will continue in their current positions under the new ownership structure.

"Row 44 has been on a tremendous growth trajectory for the past two years and became a desirable acquisition target during that time. We believe this acquisition underscores our credibility as a key player in the IFEC market while providing working capital to continue to grow. We are already the largest satellite-deployed airline Wi-Fi supplier and have now added in a meaningful amount of depth and breadth to our company to impact the current and future technologies that we believe airlines will find desirable, and should ultimately change the landscape of IFEC in the future. We are privileged to be working with such an experienced group to do even more to give airlines the opportunity to have their passengers’ time in the cabin be more productive and entertaining,"  LaValle said.

 

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