Wheels Up lists on NYSE: ‘Bright light shining on our industry’
Kenny Dichter rang the closing bell on the New York Stock Exchange on July 14th. Wheels Up, the company he founded in 2013, is now trading under the ticker UP.
“We are the first private aviation company on a major US public exchange, and it means a bright light is shining not just on Wheels Up, but on the whole of our special industry,” said Dichter in a call with Corporate Jet Investor.
The stock opened at $9.95 and is now trading up 19.54% at $11.8. This values the company at more than $2.5bn.
“This is a very special day in Wheels Up’s journey,” says Dichter. “We are now playing at Yankee Stadium or Wembley Stadium but we are just getting started.”
Long read: The history of Wheels Up – the way to Wall Street
Wheels Up plans to use cash from its merger with special purpose acquisition company Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle Corp to grow. This includes investing in technology and acquisitions.
Ravi Thakran, chairman and CEO at Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle Corp, said: “Aspirational’s purpose was always to support a premium brand that delivers a compelling vision and lifestyle experience for today’s consumer. We are thrilled for Wheels Up as they expand globally with the innovative Wheels Up Marketplace.”
The company has already acquired four operators – Mountain Aviation, Gama Aviation Signature, Delta Private Jets and TMC Jets – as well as fleet software company Avianis. More deals are likely.
“We now have $650m in gross proceeds and public currency,” says Dichter. “It opens up a larger global pool of potential partners.”
The New York Stock Exchange is only the beginning for Wheels Up. At the Revolution.Aero Global 2021 conference held recently, Dichter said he is hoping to “be in business” with Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Elon Musk, in the space race. “We’re demand aggregators, and we can sell seats on your vehicles,” he said.
Watch his presentation here: