One of the company’s spacecraft in orbit.
Spacecraft maker York Space Systems is selling a majority stake in the company to private equity firm AE Industrial Partners at a $1.125 billion valuation, CNBC has learned.
The deal, which was announced Tuesday, makes York the new space unicorn, a company valued in excess of $1 billion in private markets. At that valuation, AEI acquired a 51% stake in York, people familiar with the deal told CNBC.
Over the past two years, AEI has invested heavily in the space sector, holding positions at companies such as Sierra Space, Firefly Aerospace, Redwire, Terran Orbital and Virgin Orbit. BlackRock’s private equity division has joined AEI in investing in York.
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AEI declined to comment on the deal, the terms of which were not disclosed. York did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.
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York Space Systems
Based in Denver, Colorado and founded in 2012 by CEO Dirk Wallinger, York is steadily expanding the line of spacecraft it builds for customers looking to fly satellites in orbit. York manufactures what is known in the industry as the spacecraft’s “bus”, the satellite’s main structure and body, and focuses on low-cost products ranging in size from household ovens to refrigerators.
To date, York has more than $1 billion in outstanding contracts, most notably a contract to build a spacecraft for the Pentagon’s satellite internet system.
The company has several facilities with a total production area of approximately 165,000 square feet, capable of producing more than 750 satellites per year.
The AEI press release said that Wallinger would remain CEO and that chairman Charles Beams would continue to serve on York’s board of directors.