New York private equity firm American Securities LLC agreed to acquire Englewood, Colorado-based Air Methods Corp. (NASDAQ: AIRM), the largest provider of air medical transportation in the United States, for $43.00 per share in cash, representing an enterprise value of $2.5 billion, including debt.

Air Methods is the largest U.S. air medical transport provider in the $5 billion air medical market, serving 48 states with over 300 bases of operations and one of the youngest fleets in the industry. Its United Rotorcraft Division specializes in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology.

The company also has a leading position in the air tourism market. Its Tourism Division is comprised of Sundance Helicopters and Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, which provide helicopter tours and charter flights in the Las Vegas/Grand Canyon region and Hawaii. Air Methods’ fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features approximately 500 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. The company was founded in 1980.

Based in New York with an office in Shanghai, American Securities invests in market-leading North American companies with annual revenues ranging from $200 million to $2 billion and $50 million to $200 million of EBITDA. The firm, which reportedly has about $15 billion of assets under management, traces its roots to a family office founded in 1947 by the late businessman and philanthropist William Rosenwald, who helped establish the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) in 1939 and made other charitable grants through the William Rosenwald Family Fund. His father was Julius Rosenwald, the former chairman of Sears, Roebuck and Co. and a leading philanthropist whose Rosenwald Fund built 5,000 schools for black children in the South a few decades after the Civil War.

The purchase price represents a 20.4% premium to Air Methods’ stock price of $35.70 on January 31, 2017 prior to press speculation regarding a sale, and a 24.7% premium to 30-day volume-weighted average price of $34.49 as of the same date. The deal was unanimously approved by Air Methods’ Board of Directors.

“This transaction will enable us to continue to execute against our strategy and strengthen our market position as a global leader in air medical transportation and air tourism,” said Air Methods CEO Aaron Todd. “American Securities offers us a great opportunity to continue to invest and pursue long-term growth with greater operational flexibility, and we look forward to working with such a sophisticated private equity investor.”

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement, which will deliver certain and immediate cash value and a compelling premium to our stock price prior to press speculation for our shareholders,” added Air Methods Chairman C. David Kikumoto.

“We strongly believe in Air Methods’ strategic direction and the opportunities to grow the company’s leading positions in the attractive air medical and air tourism markets,” said Marc L. Saiontz, a Managing Director of American Securities. “We respect the company’s commitment to providing access to patients in the communities that need it the most, with a focus on quality of care and safety in aviation.”

The deal is expected to close by the end of the second calendar quarter of 2017, subject to shareholder approval and other customary closing conditions.

Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Centerview Partners LLC are serving as financial advisors and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Holland & Hart LLP are serving as legal advisors to Air Methods. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is serving as legal advisor to American Securities.

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