Global Eagle Acquisition will acquire inflight broadband provider Row 44 and about an 86% stake in Advanced Inflight Alliance (AIA), which supplies games, movies and multimedia to airlines.
The company, which was set-up explicitly to acquire media and entertainment businesses in 2011, values the deal at about $430 million. Close is anticipated in January 2013 pending approval from stockholders.
Global Eagle will purchase the Advanced Inflight Alliance shares from PAR Investment Partners - a major Row 44 investor.
In May 2011, Global Eagle raised about $190 million from an initial public offering.
Global Eagle will be renamed Global Eagle Entertainment after the deal closes. Founders Harry Sloan and Jeff Sagansky say that the acquisition will create the "largest integrated entertainment platform" for the airline industry, in a statement.
"By combining AIA's access to the installed inflight entertainment market with Row 44's wifi to mobile device capability, Global Eagle has potential access to 100% of the airline passenger experience, creating an addressable market as large as the global airline industry," says Global Eagle chief executive Sloan. "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 utilise our media and content relationships and experience to drive expansion and enhancement of inflight content and programming around the world."
California-based Row 44 has outfitted more than 400 aircraft with its Ku-band satellite inflight internet system, with its biggest customer being Southwest.
Advanced Inflight Alliance provides content to more than 130 airlines.