Spacecraft manufacturer York Space Systems is selling a majority stake in the company to private equity firm AE Industrial Partners at an enterprise valuation of $1.125 billion, CNBC has learned.
The deal, announced on Tuesday, makes York the latest space unicorn — a company valued at over $1 billion on the private markets. AEI took a 51% equity stake in York at that valuation, people familiar with the deal told CNBC.
AEI has made a variety of investments in the space sector over the last two years, taking positions in companies like Sierra Space, Firefly Aerospace, Redwire, Terran Orbital and Virgin Orbit. BlackRock’s private equity arm joined AEI in the York investment.
AEI declined to comment on the deal, the terms of which were not disclosed. York did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Based in Denver, Colorado, and founded in 2012 by CEO Dirk Wallinger, York has steadily expanded its product line of spacecraft that it builds for customers wanting to operate satellites in orbit. York manufactures what is known in the industry as a spacecraft “bus,” the main structure and body of a satellite, and focuses on low-cost products that range in size from a household oven to a refrigerator.
York has more than $1 billion backlog of contracts to date — most notably an award to build spacecraft for the Pentagon’s in-development satellite internet system.
The company maintains multiple facilities with about 165,000 total square feet of manufacturing space, with capacity to produce more than 750 satellites per year.
In a press release, AEI said that Wallinger will be staying on as CEO while Chair Charles Beames will continue serving on the York board of directors.