Global Eagle Makes $430 Million Investment in Inflight


LOS ANGELES: Global Eagle Acquisition Corp., which was founded by industry veterans Harry Sloan and Jeff Sagansky, has signed a deal to purchase Row 44 and a majority stake in Advanced Inflight Alliance, resulting in a $430 million transaction to create the "largest integrated entertainment platform for the global airline industry."

Row 44 is a satellite-based broadband service provider to the global airline industry. Its entertainment connectivity system is currently installed on more than 400 aircrafts. Advanced Inflight Alliance (AIA) supplies games, movies, general entertainment and applications to the airline industry. It services more than 130 airlines worldwide. Global Eagle has purchased approximately 86 percent of the shares in AIA.

Sloan, the chairman and CEO of Global Eagle, stated, "By combining AIA’s access to the installed inflight entertainment market with Row 44’s WiFi to mobile device capability, Global Eagle has potential access to 100 percent of the airline passenger experience, creating an addressable market as large as the global airline industry. This is exactly the kind of worldwide digital media opportunity we’ve been seeking for Global Eagle since our IPO; and this is also a platform for Jeff and me to utilize our media and content relationships and experience to drive expansion and enhancement of inflight content and programming around the world."

Edward L. Shapiro, a partner of PAR Capital Management, chairman of the board of Row 44 and chairman of AIA’s supervisory board, who will become chairman of Global Eagle Entertainment after the closing, stated, "We are extremely excited about this business combination. Row 44 and AIA are leaders in their respective industries and have highly complementary products and customer bases. With this transaction, not only will the two companies be able to enhance their offerings, but they will gain access to additional capital and relevant entertainment industry experience."

Shapiro added, "I have had the privilege of working closely with the very talented Row 44 and AIA management teams and I look forward to continuing this work as we enter this next phase of accelerating industry adoption of wireless content delivery. I have known both Harry and Jeff for more than ten years and am eager to have them as partners as we build Global Eagle Entertainment into a leading global media company."