Camp Systems

The Hearst Corp. is buying Camp Systems Intl. Inc., a developer of software for managing and tracking aircraft maintenance, from private equity firm GTCR LLC. The deal is part of the buyer’s strategy for Hearst Business Media to diversify into data and information-based companies.

Merrimack, New Hampshire-based Camp provides management software and maintenance services used in business aviation for jets, propeller aircrafts and helicopters. With 12 offices across North America, Europe and Asia, the target services more than 19,000 aircrafts, 30,000 engines, and 1,300 maintenance facilities. Camp serves aircraft companies such as: Airbus Corporate Jets, Cessna, Embraer Executive Jets (NYSE: ERJ), HondaJet, Honeywell Intl. Inc. (NYSE: HON), Piaggio Aerospace, Pilatus and more.

Hearst Business Media is the subsidiary of multimedia conglomerate Hearst that focuses on information and insights, data analytics, and workflow products for the finance, healthcare and transportation industries. To date, Hearst Business Media’s transportation companies include Black Book and Motor Information Systems, two providers of data insights for the automotive industry. The deal with Camp is Hearst’s introduction into the aviation industry.

GTCR is a Chicago-based private equity firm that has invested in more than 200 companies across the financial services and technology, healthcare, and technology, media and telecommunications industries. The firm has invested more than $10 billion in capital since its inception in 1980. GTCR has been active lately. Earlier in 2016, the firm created a new venture to focus on acquiring specialty companies within the pharmaceutical industry and also made a $500 million deal to purchase Lytx, a seller of subscription-based services used to help fleet operators improve driver safety. GTCR won Mergers & Acquisitions' 2013 M&A Mid-Market Private Equity Firm of the Year award.

Since air travel has picked up over recent years, private equity firms have shown an increased interest in deals involving aircraft tech and the aerospace industry. For example: AE Industrial Partners LLC raised its first fund, valued at $680 million, dedicated to making aerospace deals; private equity firm ParkerGale purchased aircraft data company Aircraft Technical Publishers in 2015; and Apollo Aviation Group also raised its third aerospace focused fund, valued at $833 million, in the same year.

UBS AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS), and Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE: DB) are serving as financial advisers to Camp and Gtcr. Kirkland & Ellis LLP is acting as legal counsel to Camp and Gtcr. For Hearst, PJT Partners Inc. is serving as financial adviser and Clifford Chance US LLP is acting as legal counsel. The undisclosed deal is expected to close by year end 2016.

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