- Press Release
- Dec 5, 2022
AE Industrial Partners Makes Significant Investment in York Space Systems, a Leading Manufacturer of Small Satellites and New Space Technology
AE Industrial Partners, LP (“AEI”), a leader in space investing and a private equity firm specializing in aerospace, defense & government services, space, power & utility services, and specialty industrial markets, announced today that it has agreed to acquire a majority stake in York Space Systems (“York” or “the Company”), an independent provider of small satellites, satellite components and turnkey mission operations.
Funds and accounts managed by BlackRock Private Equity Partners also agreed to invest alongside AE Industrial in the transaction. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
York manufactures and architects low Earth orbit (“LEO”), geosynchronous equatorial orbit (“GEO”), and cislunar spacecraft solutions for the proliferated satellite market. The Company’s products are purposefully designed to balance scalability, manufacturability, and efficiency to meet the schedule-driven, high-volume demand for customers’ small satellite constellations. York’s spacecraft solutions are designed for all mission types, including communications, EO/IR, radiofrequency, hyperspectral, weather, remote proximity ops, and more. The Company currently serves a variety of leading government and commercial customers, including the Space Development Agency (“SDA”), for whom York is providing spacecraft solutions as part of both Tranche 0 and Tranche 1 of the agency’s Transport Layer.
Headquartered in Denver, CO, York has approximately 165,000 square feet of satellite manufacturing space across the Denver area. With the recent opening of its newest facility in the Denver Tech Center, York boasts the capacity to produce 750+ satellites per year.
Building on its marquee wins on the U.S Department of Defense’s new proliferated LEO constellation, York now has the significant institutional investor backing and capital to continue to make great inroads in both the government and commercial small satellite market. CEO Dirk Wallinger, who founded York in 2012, will continue to lead the Company, and Chairman Charles “Chuck” Beames will continue to serve on the Board of Directors. Both will maintain significant ownership positions in York.
“With its innovative spacecraft designs and manufacturing processes, York has revolutionized the small satellite market, which is poised for significant growth in both the government and commercial markets over the next 20 years,” said Kirk Konert, Partner at AEI. “Backing the largest independent small satellite manufacturer represents a unique opportunity to serve the fast-growing LEO commercialization and national security markets, and we look forward to partnering with Dirk, Chuck and the entire York team during this exciting time in the space industry and at the Company.”
“AEI has distinguished itself as a leading investor across the space ecosystem and is the ideal partner for York as we look to rapidly scale the business,” said Mr. Wallinger. “The firm’s deep sector knowledge as well as AEI’s experience in aerospace production will be critical as we continue to grow York and deliver for our customers.”
“We’re proud to have pioneered a unique, game-changing, standardized approach to spacecraft manufacturing. With access to new relationships and capital, this exciting new partnership with AEI ensures York’s continued ability to lead in delivering world-class solutions for government and commercial customers,” said Mr. Beames. “We’ve been very impressed with the AEI team and are eager to move into this next stage of growth.”
“We are thrilled to partner with York at such a critical inflection point for the satellite industry and see impactful tailwinds that will further advance the Company’s entrenchment across commercial and defense LEO satellite constellations,” said Tyler Letarte, Vice President at AEI. “Having been awarded several high-profile, mission-critical satellite constellation contracts that validate York’s technology and capabilities, the Company is well-positioned to achieve significant near-term growth. We are excited to bring our space sector expertise and portfolio, as well as our production know-how, to accelerate York’s mission.”
Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor and Ernst & Young as financial advisor to AEI. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP acted as legal advisor and Jefferies LLC as exclusive financial advisor to York.
About York Space Systems
Headquartered in Denver, CO, York Space Systems was founded in 2012 to radically improve spacecraft affordability and reliability, transforming and enabling next generation space mission operations worldwide. An independent provider of small satellites, satellite components and turnkey mission operations, York’s products and solutions are used by both government and commercial customers. For more information please visit www.yorkspacesystems.com.
About AE Industrial Partners
AE Industrial Partners is a private equity firm specializing in aerospace, defense & government services, space, power & utility services, and specialty industrial markets. AE Industrial Partners invests in market-leading companies that can benefit from our deep industry knowledge, operating experience, and relationships throughout our target markets. AE Industrial Partners is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment and the ILPA Diversity in Action initiative. Learn more at www.aeroequity.com.
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