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AEI to Buy Majority Stake in York Space Systems; Kirk Konert Quoted

Private equity firm AE Industrial Partners has agreed to purchase a controlling stake in small satellite builder York Space Systems for an undisclosed sum.

York Founder and CEO Dick Wallinger will continue to oversee the company and Chairman Charles “Chuck” Beames will continue to sit on the board, AEI said Tuesday.

Wallinger and Beames will keep significant ownership stakes in York.

Denver-based York produces spacecraft platforms for proliferated satellite constellations in low-Earth orbit, cislunar and geosynchronous equatorial orbit designed to support communications, radio frequency, weather, hyperspectral, electro-optical/infrared and remote proximity operations.

York has about 165,000 square feet of space in Denver with a capacity to manufacture over 750 satellites on an annual basis and supports commercial and government agency clients including the Space Development Agency. The company is producing spacecraft for Tranche 0 and Tranche 1 of SDA’s Transport Layer.

Kirk Konert, a partner at AEI, said York has helped transform the small satellite market and AEI’s investment in the company offers a unique opportunity to serve LEO commercialization and national security markets.

BlackRock Private Equity Partners-managed funds and accounts joined AEI in the investment.

Kirkland & Ellis and Ernst & Young respectively served as legal counsel and financial adviser to AEI in the transaction. 

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher served as York’s legal adviser in the deal and Jefferies acted as exclusive financial adviser to the company.

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