AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems, and Arcturus UAV, Inc., a privately-held leading provider of Group 2 and 3 unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and services, today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which AeroVironment will acquire Arcturus UAV for a total purchase price of $405 million, including $355 million in cash and $50 million in AeroVironment stock. The transaction, which was unanimously approved by the AeroVironment and Arcturus UAV Boards of Directors, is expected to accelerate AeroVironment’s strategy to drive profitable growth and value by expanding into attractive adjacent segments and by broadening its capabilities and customer footprint.
Founded in 2004 and based in Petaluma, California, Arcturus UAV has approximately 270 employees, designs and manufactures Group 2 and Group 3 UAS and provides related services, including contractor-owned, contractor-operated (COCO) services. Arcturus UAV is a leading supplier to the USSOCOM, supporting its $1.4 billion MEUAS III and IV programs, and one of four awardees selected for funded development and demonstrations supporting the U.S. Army’s FTUAS program, a potential billion dollar, and next-generation UAS program. Arcturus UAV has a demonstrated track record of solid performance, with topline growth exceeding 20 percent for each of its last two fiscal years.
“We are excited about the opportunities for value creation through our acquisition of Arcturus UAV, which will enable us to accelerate our growth strategy and expand our reach into the more valuable Group 2 and 3 UAS segments,” said Wahid Nawabi, AeroVironment president and chief executive officer. “Group 2 and 3 UAS and services, collectively, potentially represent more than one billion dollars in annual contract value, according to an independent forecast. Combining our highly complementary products and technologies will enhance our portfolio, deliver top and bottom-line growth, and enable us to provide customers with a complete set of Group 1 through 3 UAS, tactical missile systems, high-altitude pseudo-satellites and unmanned ground vehicle solutions. Through this expanded portfolio, we will be well positioned to serve a broader range of customer missions across multiple domains and significantly enhance value for shareholders over the near and long-term.”
“The Arcturus UAV team has produced strong growth in recent years and has secured strategically important wins in the MEUAS and FTUAS programs, positioning Arcturus as a leader for next-generation program requirements. Together, we will offer an unmatched portfolio of multi-domain unmanned capabilities, supported by our ongoing investments in artificial intelligence and autonomy, to help our customers address a broad set of defense and commercial missions. We look forward to welcoming Arcturus UAV’s talented team, strong customer relationships in growing UAS segments and robust pipeline of innovations to AeroVironment,” Mr. Nawabi added.
“AeroVironment’s depth of experience in UAS and tactical missile systems, international presence, and impressive team is a natural fit for Arcturus UAV, and will create substantial opportunities to build on our strong momentum,” said D’Milo Hallerberg, Arcturus UAV president and chief executive officer. “With the support of AeroVironment, we will have greater scale, expanded resources, cutting-edge technology and superior capabilities to meet the growing global demand for our products and solutions. We are confident that with AeroVironment, we can accelerate our growth as part of a larger, more diverse company and look forward to working closely with the team to complete this exciting transaction.”
Arcturus UAV’s products include the JUMP-20, a multi-mission, medium endurance vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) system requiring no launch equipment or runway and the T-20, a multi-mission, medium endurance catapult-launched system. Arcturus UAV sells its products directly to end users and delivers COCO services. All Arcturus UAV systems have the ability to carry a broad range of payloads, including standard EO/IR gimbals as well as 3-D mapping, SAR, LIDAR, communications relay, COMINT and SIGINT payloads.
AeroVironment expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to adjusted EBITDA, excluding deal and integration costs, and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share, excluding intangible assets, amortization expense and deal and integration costs, and accretive to GAAP diluted EPS in fiscal year 2022, while increasing pro forma net leverage to 0.5 times adjusted EBITDA.
Upon completion of the transaction, key members of the Arcturus UAV executive management team will remain in leadership positions. The transaction is expected to close during fourth quarter of AeroVironment’s fiscal year 2021, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. At close, Arcturus UAV will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of AeroVironment.
The purchase price represents a multiple of approximately 11x Arcturus UAV’s LTM 9/30/20 adjusted EBITDA, net of anticipated tax benefits. In connection with the acquisition, AeroVironment has received commitments for a $200 million Term Loan Facility and $100 million revolver (undrawn at close) with Bank of America, N.A. acting as Administrative Agent, and with BofA Securities, Inc., JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. and U.S. Bank National Association acting as arrangers. AeroVironment will fund approximately $155 million of the acquisition from cash on hand.