Urban Heli-taxi Blade To Go Public Via Merger

New York, Dec 15 (AP) Urban helicopter taxi company Blade will become public company after a merger with Nasdaq-listed Experience Investment Corp, the companies announced Tuesday. The deal, expected to close in the first half of 2021, will give the company an equity value of USD 825 million. Proceeds from the deal total UD 400 million, which includes cash from Experience and USD 125 million from private investment. Other investors include entertainment moguls Barry Diller and David Geffen.

Upon closing, Experience will change its name to Blade Urban Air Mobility. Its stock trading symbol will also change from EXPC to BLDE. New York-based Blade currently provides short-flight air service, mostly in the Northeast United States and India. It plans to use the proceeds of the deal to expand its services and transition to electric-powered vehicles. Routes between airports in the New York metropolitan area and designated Manhattan heliports start at USD 195 per seat, and one-way ticket from for commuter flights between 60 and 100 miles go for between USD 595 and USD 795 per seat. Experience Investment is a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, and a subsidiary of private equity firm KSL Capital Partners, which specialises in raising money for high-end travel and leisure businesses.

Citing Morgan Stanley Investment Research, the companies expect urban air transportation service to be a USD 125 billion market by 2025 and grow to USD 650 billion during the next decade. Shares in Experience rose more than 6 per cent in midday trading to USD 10.88. (AP) .

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