Hawker Seeks Exclusive Negotiations With Superior Aviation

Hawker Beechcraft Inc., the bankrupt business-jet maker owned by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Onex Corp., asked for court permission to allow it to exclusively negotiate for as long as 45 days with Superior Aviation Beijing Co.

The proposed exclusivity agreement will allow Hawker to “attempt to negotiate a binding stalking-horse plan sponsorship agreement,” according to court papers. “In exchange, Superior will pay the debtors up to $50 million to fund and maintain certain product lines that the debtors will likely discontinue but for Superior’s interest in acquiring them,” the company said in court papers.

The jetmaker agreed to sell itself to Superior for $1.79 billion. Superior will make payments over the next six weeks to help keep Hawker afloat until the deal closes, the companies said July 9. The accord makes Superior the so-called stalking-horse bidder in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court-supervised auction that may win more offers.

Hawker Beechcraft sought bankruptcy protection in May after struggling with lower demand for private jets following the recession and constrained U.S. defense spending. The planemaker’s debt included a term loan and notes used for the portion of its $3.3 billion takeover in 2007 that wasn’t covered by $1 billion cash from buyers Goldman Sachs and Onex.

The case is In re Hawker Beechcraft Inc., 12-11873, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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