Deal to purchase Columbia Helicopters canceled

The Bristow Group paid Columbia a $20 million fee in order to terminate the acquisition agreement

Columbia BV-107
Columbia helicopter, N192CH, at Custer, SD July 31, 2011. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

The $560 million deal that the Bristow Group had to purchase Columbia Helicopters has been cancelled, the two companies announced Monday.

As required in the agreement Bristow paid $20 million to Columbia as a termination fee.

Columbia’s CH-47D helicopters with 2,800-gallon internal water tanks or external buckets are frequently seen over wildfires assisting firefighters on the ground.

Bristow had hoped that merging the two companies would open opportunities for their underemployed Airbus H225s to compete for military contracts using Columbia’s U.S. Department of Defense Commercial Airlift Review Board certificate. Columbia’s ships may have found work in the 10 countries in which Bristow maintains air operator certificates.

The plan was for Columbia to be a wholly owned subsidiary operating as a separate company with its own board and management structure, and would remain in Oregon, retaining the Columbia name and the aircrafts’ livery.

Bristow’s stock price dropped sharply both when the purchase agreement was announced the week of November 5 and again Monday when the termination of the purchase was revealed, losing 87 percent in the three months since disclosing the planned acquisition.

Bristow has not filed as required their final financial results for the quarter that ended December 31, 2018, and released only preliminary figures, explaining that since March 31, 2018 they have not have adequate monitoring control processes in place.

Thomas C. Knudson, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bristow, stated, “The decision to enter into a mutual termination of the purchase agreement was based on a number of developments following the entry into the agreement, which led both Bristow and Columbia to conclude that it was not possible to combine the two companies at this time. We continue to value our relationship with Columbia and look forward to having the opportunity to work together in the future.”

Steve Bandy, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Columbia, stated, “We continue to believe in the potential for collaboration between Bristow and Columbia, and the companies are actively considering mutually beneficial opportunities to work together.”

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