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Air Lease unit enters JV with Napier Park co-investment vehicle

An Air Lease Corp. wholly owned subsidiary entered into a second joint venture with a Napier Park Global Capital co-investment vehicle to invest in commercial aircraft and lease them to airlines around the world.

Through the co-investment vehicle, a pooled investment vehicle of long-term institutional investors managed by Napier Park owned 90.5% of the equity of the newly formed entity named Blackbird Capital II LLC. Air Lease owns 9.5% of the joint venture and will not consolidate the entity.

Blackbird Capital II raised $231 million of equity commitments. The fund has the ability to add additional commitments over the next 18 months based on investment opportunities.

Aircraft will be acquired with equity, a planned $650 million warehouse credit facility and other forms of debt financing. The investment window for Blackbird Capital II has been extended to four from two years.

Air Lease will provide management services over a 12-year period to the joint venture for a servicing fee based on aircraft assets under management. Additionally, the company expects to sell two aircraft from its portfolio to the joint venture to initially seed the fund. Through the joint venture, the company will manage additional aircraft lease transactions and may grow the size of the fund.

The revolving warehouse facility was led by BNP Paribas, as joint lead arranger and agent; Bank of America NA, as joint lead arranger; and includes Societe Generale, Fifth Third Bank, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., Citibank NA and Goldman Sachs Bank USA.

In connection with the formation of the joint venture, Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP advised Blackbird Capital II, Munger Tolles & Olson LLP advised Air Lease, and Sidley Austin LLP advised Napier Park. In connection with the warehouse facility, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP advised the joint lead arrangers and the lenders, while Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP advised Blackbird Capital II.