AE Industrial Partners to Buy Stake in Launch Vehicle Provider Firefly Aerospace

AE Industrial Partners has agreed to buy a significant stake in Firefly Aerospace from Noosphere Venture Partners for an undisclosed sum to further expand its portfolio of space technology companies.

AEI said Thursday Cedar Park, Texas-based Firefly, which develops in-space and launch vehicles for small payloads, closed a round of Series A financing in May 2021, giving it a valuation of approximately $1.1 billion.

Firefly conducted the first flight of its Alpha launch vehicle in September and expects its Blue Ghost Lunar Lander program to launch in late 2022 following the completion of the critical design review phase.

AEI said it expects the transaction to enable Firefly to broaden its market presence as an end-to-end space transportation services provider and secure more contracts with the U.S. federal government.

AEI’s space investments include Redwire (NYSE: RDW) and Sierra Space. In September, Redwire went public after it merged with blank check company Genesis Park Acquisition.

The transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 and other regulatory approvals.

Covington & Burling and Ernst & Young served as legal and financial advisers, respectively, to AEI in the transaction. DLA Piper LLP (US) and Kirkland & Ellis advised Noosphere on the deal’s legal aspect and Jefferies acted as exclusive financial adviser to the asset management firm.

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