OAG
4 months ago
 

Vitruvian buys aviation data giant OAG for $215 million

From one private equity owner to another – OAG has switched from Axio to Vitruvian in a deal in the region of $215 million.

The sale comes almost four years to the day since UBM offloaded the business and six other related divisions for £160 million to what was then known as Electra Partners.

Vitruvian initially stated that terms of the new acquisition were not to be disclosed but Axio confirmed in its own statement that the deal was for “approximately $215 million”.

OAG is best known as the provider of data on flight information and real-time tracking to airlines, airports, government agencies and travel brands.

The company’s biggest strategic development in the period between switching PE ownership came in January 2015 when it bought FlightView for an undisclosed fee.

The sale is inevitably being touted as a solid financial success story for Axio.

Epiris (the division it sat in at Axio) partner, Alex Cooper-Evans, says:

“The business has been transformed during the period of our ownership with strategic focus, operational improvement and investment. OAG has grown earnings at more than 30% a year since 2013 and now has a clear strategy to continue its growth in the future.

“The sale of OAG takes our realised return on this investment to 3.9x cost, and the total return to 4.8x.”

Phil Callow had been with UBM since 2007 and assumed the reins as CEO in April 2013, shortly after its sale to Axio.

“Over the last few years we have strengthened OAG by building the world’s most comprehensive flight status database, expanding our suite of analytical tools and launching a unique real-time flight schedule product.”

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.

 

Comments

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  1. Caroline

    UBM actually offloaded seven other businesses for £160 million

     
    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @caroline…

      yup, Axio REALLY did make its money with this one eh 😉

      have made the change…

       
  2. Ian

    I do hope that OAG have changed their ways in recent years.

    I was a customer a few years ago after THack Singapore with a little app called sunflight.net that used their flight lookup API (and I think I hold the record for the oldest operating THack! – https://www.tnooz.com/article/sunflight-choose-your-airline-seat-based-on-what-side-the-sun-will-be/).

    Anyway, I had minimal traffic and left the site running for some enthusiasts who begged me to keep it going (see the comments in the thread link above) and made sure to attribute OAG and their support of the site. It didn’t take too long before they wanted money for using their API (even a few hundred requests), and while I obliged and they kindly gave a discount, the entire payment process was archaic and involved monthly invoices and requiring me to wire funds (no cc payment).

    In the end, I gave up on OAG because they clearly didn’t want to work with the travel startup community and couldn’t see the opportunities that they’d get from supporting small hack sites like what I built.

     
  3. Timothy O'Neil-Dunne

    The terms of the deal will have to be interesting. The problem with OAG is that they have not figured out how to charge for their core value and are too dependent on the GDSs for revenue – a trend that long term is not sustainable. As other vendors step in there has to be a point at which questions about the validity of the deal should be asked.
    Still as a customer – I am happy to see them go to hopefully a good home.

     
 
 

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