Tiger, Meritage Funds and Platform Partners invest in SmartSky

An investor group led by Tiger Infrastructure Partners, Meritage Funds and Platform Partners has acquired a stake in SmartSky Networks LLC. No financial terms were disclosed. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, SmartSky is developing an 4G-LTE based, air-to-ground communications network. Q Advisors LLC provided financial advice to Tiger on the transaction.


NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–An investor syndicate led by Tiger Infrastructure Partners (“Tiger”), Meritage Funds and Platform Partners today announced the acquisition of an interest in SmartSky Networks LLC (“SmartSky” or the “Company”). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Established in 2011, SmartSky is creating the first 4G-LTE based, Air-to-Ground communications network in the U.S. to provide next generation in-flight connectivity to the aviation industry. The Company intends to use the proceeds from this growth equity financing to conduct an end-to-end system demonstration on a multi-site network, and commence network deployment activities prior to the rollout of nationwide commercial service beginning in 2016.

“We are delighted to partner with Tiger at this important stage in SmartSky’s evolution as a company,” said Haynes Griffin, Chairman and CEO of SmartSky. “Tiger’s track record of growing communications infrastructure businesses is impressive, and we look forward to gaining their perspective as we build our cutting-edge network.”

“SmartSky will provide critical, next-generation services to the aviation industry,” added Emil Henry, CEO and Managing Partner of Tiger. “Haynes and the Company’s world-class leadership team have created a novel spectrum re-use technology enabling the disruption of an entire industry. It is exciting to be involved in the buildout of a major communications infrastructure project that will address this rapidly growing and underserved market.”

Q Advisors LLC, a Denver and San Francisco boutique investment bank, acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Tiger, and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and Lowenstein Sandler LLP served as legal advisors to Tiger.

About SmartSky Networks LLC
SmartSky Networks, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., was formed in 2011 and is comprised of senior aviation and telecommunications executives seeking to leverage disruptive communications technologies to transform aviation. In conjunction with leading aerospace and technology partners, SmartSky plans to beta-launch its innovative Air-To-Ground network, SmartSky 4G, in late 2015 followed by the rollout of nationwide commercial service in 2016. For more information, visit www.smartskynetworks.com.

About Tiger Infrastructure Partners
Tiger Infrastructure Partners is an independent private equity firm focused on investments in middle-market infrastructure assets and businesses in North America and Europe. Tiger Infrastructure targets investments in the power, renewable energy, natural resources infrastructure, waste management, water, transportation, communications, and related sectors. Tiger Management L.L.C. and members of the Ziff family are significant investors in Tiger Infrastructure. For more information, visit www.tigerinfrastructure.com.