Foley Assembling Cirrus Counter-offer
Convinced that he can round up enough U.S. investors to keep Cirrus Aircraft on American soil, consultant Brian Foley is organizing a counter-offer in a bid to trump China’s plan to buy the Duluth, Minn.-based light aircraft builder from majority owner Arcapita (58 percent) and the several hundred individual shareholders who currently own the company. On February 28 Cirrus president and CEO Brent Wouters announced that China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (Caiga) had signed an agreement to purchase all of Cirrus Aircraft. Wouters said then that “Jobs and job growth are staying right here...This is an investment in Cirrus as we know it today” but Foley’s plan suggests this is not an opinion shared by all. Says Foley, “Cirrus is an American success story that started in a humble dairy barn, introduced important new technologies and rocketed to success. What surprised me was the speed, passion and near-unanimity of the feedback we received. I didn’t talk to anyone who wanted to see Cirrus shipped overseas. People want this company to be owned and operated on American soil, period.” Foley says he is “confident we can identify and combine enough qualified investors who value Cirrus’s promise as a distinctively American company.” Though details of Cirrus’s pending sale to China were not made public, Foley expects the price to be in the $200 million-plus range. At press time, Cirrus founder and ex-chairman Alan Klapmeier just returned from an overseas trip and had yet to be briefed by Foley on this counter-offer.