Two entertainment industry veterans believe the sky’s the limit for the internet and entertainment. Harry Sloan and Jeff Sagansky, co-founders of Global Eagle Acquisition Corp., have acquired in-flight providers Row44 and most (86 percent) of Advanced Inflight Alliance to create Global Eagle Entertainment. The remaining shares will remain listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange as AIA.
The $430 million deal creates a complete in-flight package: Row44 provided internet access and Advanced Inflight supplied games, movies and other entertainment options. Row 44 CEO John LaValle and AIA CEO Louis Belanger-Martin are expected to remain as senior management.
Currently, about 14 percent of commercial aircraft offer internet access to passengers who increasingly expect connectivity everywhere in their lives, a disparity that Global Eagle perceives as growth potential.
Global Eagle said in a joint statement that “this marriage of content, connectivity and capital will create a superior platform to exploit the rapidly expanding global airline industry as it increasingly focuses on the in-cabin entertainment experience and other ancillary revenue opportunities.”
Before striking out on his own, Sloan was chairman and CEO of MGM, having been chairman and CEO of Scandinavia’s SBS Broadcasting. Sagansky’s career includes being CEO of Paxson Communications, co-president of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and president of CBS Entertainment.
Sloan said, “This is exactly the kind of worldwide digital media opportunity we’ve been seeking for Global Eagle since our IPO; and this is also a platform for Jeff and me to utilize our media and content relationships and experience to drive expansion and enhancement of inflight content and programming around the world.”
Row44 – press release
Hollywood Reporter – Harry Sloan’s Global Eagle Signs $430 Million Airline Entertainment Deal
Los Angeles Times – Global Eagle makes $430-million airline entertainment deal
Associated Press – Ex-Hollywood execs to buy in-flight businesses
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