Experience Investment Corporation

Experience Investment Corporation

Oct 19, 2020 by Roman Developer


ENTERPRISE VALUE: $450 million

Experience Investment Corp. proposes to combine with BLADE Urban Air Mobility, Inc. a technology-powered air mobility company. Urban air mobility is expected to be a $125 billion market by 2025 and grow to $650 billion over the next decade, according to Morgan Stanley Equity Research.

Blade will merge into a subsidiary of Experience Investment Corp. (which will change its name to Blade Urban Air Mobility). Upon closing of the transaction, the combined operating company is expected to continue to be listed on NASDAQ.

Blade provides consumers with a cost effective and time efficient alternative to ground transportation for congested routes, predominantly within the Northeast United States and India.

Blade was specifically designed to be scalable and profitable using conventional helicopters today, while poised to seamlessly transition to eVTOL as soon as those aircraft are ready for public use, passing on lower operating costs to fliers and enabling a reduced noise footprint and zero carbon emissions for the communities the Company serves.

Blade operates in four key lines of business:

  • Short Distance – Flights between 60 and 100 miles in distance, primarily servicing commuters for prices between $595 and $795 per seat (or $295 for monthly commuter pass holders).
  • BLADE Airport – Flights between all New York area airports and dedicated Blade lounges in Manhattan’s heliports. Prices start at $195 per seat (or $95 per seat with the purchase of an annual Airport Pass)1.
  • BLADE MediMobility – Blade is the largest transporter of human organs in the Northeast United States, reducing the costs and transport time for hospitals versus legacy competitors. This business is a critical part of the Company’s growth strategy as organ movements are expected to be one of the first uses of eVTOL, before flights for passengers.
  • International Joint Ventures – As part of its expansion strategy, the Company forms joint ventures with local partners in key overseas markets to provide the technology, customer experience, infrastructure design, and employee training, that enables a scalable and consistent Blade experience. Blade’s first international joint venture launched helicopter services late last year in India flying between Mumbai, Pune, and Shirdi.

The Company expects to use proceeds from the transaction to fund expansion into new markets, including the Northeast Corridor and West Coast in the United States, as well as internationally in Asia. The Company will also pursue infrastructure acquisitions in these markets, resulting in improved unit economics for its current business while enabling the Company’s transition to eVTOL aircraft.


Experience Investment Corp., which currently holds approximately $275 million cash in trust, will combine with Blade at an estimated $825 million pro forma equity value.

Assuming no redemptions by Experience Investment Corp. stockholders, Blade’s equityholders immediately prior to closing are expected to hold approximately 43.2% of the issued and outstanding shares of common stock of the combined company immediately following the closing of the business combination.

The combined company’s available cash will be funded through a combination of Experience Investment Corp.’s cash in trust and a $125 million fully committed common stock PIPE at $10.00 per share, including investment commitments from affiliates of HG Vora Capital Management, KSL Capital Partners, and David Geffen, as well as original investors Barry Diller, David Zaslav and Robert W. Pittman.



  • PIPE Investors have committed to purchase 12,500,000 shares of Company Common Stock (the “PIPE Shares”) at a purchase price per share of $10.00 and an aggregate purchase price of $125,000,000
  • Investors include:
    • HG Vora Capital Management
    • KSL Capital Partners and David Geffen
    • Original investors Barry Diller, David Zaslav and Robert W. Pittman


  • Taking into account the PIPE Investment and after giving effect to exercise by the holders of the Company Common Stock of their right to redeem their Company Common Stock into their pro rata share of the trust account, immediately prior to Closing and without giving effect to any of the other Transactions, the Company shall have, on a consolidated basis, at least $100,000,000 in cash and cash equivalents.


  • By either the Company or Blade if the Closing has not occurred on or before July 31, 2021 (the “Outside Date”)


  • Credit Suisse is serving as the exclusive financial and capital markets advisor to Blade.
  • Deutsche Bank Securities is serving as lead capital markets and exclusive financial advisor to Experience Investment Corp., with Citibank and J.P. Morgan acting as joint capital markets advisors.
  • Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank Securities are also acting as lead placement agents on the private offering, with Citibank and J.P. Morgan acting as joint placement agents.
  • Proskauer Rose LLP is serving as legal advisor to Blade.
  • Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is serving as legal advisor to Experience Investment Corp.


Executive Officers

Eric Affeldt, 61
Chief Executive Officer & Chairman Nominee

Mr. Affeldt was from 2006 to 2017 the President and Chief Executive Officer of ClubCorp, a privately held owner and operator of golf, dining and fitness clubs. In 2015, he was named to the Institutional Investor All America Executive Team in the “best CEO” consumer-leisure sector. In 2017, he assisted with the take private transaction of ClubCorp, which was previously listed on the NYSE, to an affiliate of Apollo Global Management. Prior to joining ClubCorp, he served as a principal of KSL Capital Partners from 2005 to 2007. In addition, Mr. Affeldt was president of General Aviation Holdings, Inc, an aviation holding company, from 2000 to 2005. Prior to this, Mr. Affeldt also served as President and Chief Executive Officer of KSL Fairways; vice president and general manager of Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Miami and the PGA West and La Quinta Resort and Club in California. Mr. Affeldt is currently a member of the World Presidents Organization. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Vail Health System, a private healthcare system in Colorado, since 2017. Mr. Affeldt served as a Director for Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE:FUN), an owner and operator of amusement parks, from 2010 to 2018, and was Chairman of the Board from 2012 to 2018. In 2010, 2015 and 2017 he was rated the most powerful person in golf by Golf Inc. In 2013, Mr. Affeldt was awarded the Cecil B. Day Ethics Award by the Dedman School of Hospitality at Florida State University. In 2016, he was added to The University of Houston’s Hospitality Hall of Fame. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and Religion from Claremont McKenna College.

Charlie Martin, 48
Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer

Mr. Martin is the Chief Financial Officer of KSL Capital Partners. Mr. Martin joined KSL Capital Partners in 2005 after having serves as Vice President of Tax for ProLogis (NYSE:PLD) a real estate investment trust. Prior to joining ProLogis, Mr. Martin was a Tax Manager for Security Capital Group (NASDAQ:SCZ) a real-estate holding company, which he joined in 1995. He is a certified public accountant and holds a Masters of Accountancy and a Bachelors of Accountancy from New Mexico State University.

Michael Mohapp, 32
Chief Investment Officer & Secretary

Mr. Mohapp is a Principal at KSL Capital Partners and a member of its Investment Committee. Mr. Mohapp joined KSL Capital Partners in 2010. He leads a deal team in its efforts to source and evaluate new acquisitions, and to negotiate and execute acquisitions and divestitures of companies. Mr. Mohapp has completed transactions in a variety of industries, including the hotel industry, ski industry, family entertainment industry, franchising industry, and fitness industry, among others. In addition to working on new acquisitions and divestitures, Mr. Mohapp helps to oversee the operations of several portfolio companies and is a member of the Board of Directors of Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, a KSL Capital Partners portfolio company. As a member of KSL Capital Partner’s Investment Committee, Mr. Mohapp provides input into strategic decisions for the firm and has a voice in the approval of new investments. Previously, Mr. Mohapp was an analyst at Citi’s Investment Banking Division in the Real Estate & Lodging Group in New York. Mr. Mohapp graduated from Wake Forest University, summa cum laude, with a B.S. in Finance.


Board of Directors

Martin J. Newburger, 46

Mr. Newburger has served as a Partner at KSL Capital Partners since 2006. Prior to joining KSL Capital Partners, Mr. Newburger was a director at Citigroup, focusing on lodging and leisure investment banking clients, from 2005 to 2006. He was a director at Deutsche Bank, with a similar client focus, from 1998 to 2005. He holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Brian C. Witherow, 52

Mr. Witherow has served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE:FUN), an owner and operator of amusement parks, since 2012. As chief financial officer, he is responsible for creating and executing upon a strategy to drive, account for and assess the effectiveness of Cedar Fair’s entire financial enterprise, and as executive vice president, his leadership position (which also includes IT) is to help shape Cedar Fair’s vision, long-term corporate mission and business strategy. Mr. Witherow began his career with public accounting firm Arthur Anderson, and joined Cedar Fair in 1995 as corporate director of investor relations. He was promoted to corporate treasurer in 2004 and named vice president and corporate controller the following year. Mr. Witherow has participated in or led teams through numerous acquisitions, which collectively added nine regional amusement parks and two waterparks to Cedar Fair’s asset portfolio across the U.S. and in Canada, and helped drive the acquisition of the Paramount Park properties from CBS in 2006, which added well-market positioned park assets from coast to coast in the U.S. and in Ontario, Canada. Mr. Witherow earned his B.S. in Accounting from Miami University.

Rafael Pastor, 69

Mr. Pastor currently serves as a director of several corporations ranging from KUEHG Corp., dba KinderCare Education, a provider of early childhood care and learning at approximately 1,500 centers throughout the United States, since 2015; eDisability, LLC, dba Ensight by Assurance, a provider of SaaS-based sales and data acceleration platforms to insurance carriers and national distributors in the United States, since 2014; and Rosetta Books, LLC, dba RosettaBooks (rosettabooks.com), an independent publisher of an e-book catalog of iconic titles and of leadership titles, since 2000. He also serves on the boards of not-for-profit organizations ranging to the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California, San Diego to the National Association of Corporate Directors (Pacific Southwest Chapter). From 2004 to 2013, he was chairman and chief executive officer of Vistage International, a large for-profit chief executive membership and peer mentoring company. Previously, Mr. Pastor held senior executive positions at global media companies, including as chief executive officer of Hoyts Cinemas Corporation; president of USA Networks International; executive vice president, International, of News Corporation and Fox Television; and president of CBS/Fox Video International. In these roles he dealt with all aspects of the film, television, news and publishing businesses in the United States and throughout the world. Subsequently, in 1999, he and his partner founded the Sonenshine Pastor investment banking and private equity firm, now Sonenshine Partners, which he left in 2004. Mr. Pastor started his career as an attorney, first at the Wall Street law firm of Hawkins, Delafield and Wood and then as Associate General Counsel at CBS Inc. He earned his B.A. degree from Columbia University and J.D. degree from NYU School of Law. In addition to his experiences as a Board member, he has participated in numerous public and private company Board meetings and deliberations as a chief executive officer, investment banker and attorney.

Ted Philip, 54

Mr. Philip was from 2005 to 2019 the Chief Operating Officer of Partners in Health, a global non-profit healthcare organization, responsible for overseeing the operations of the Partners in Health projects globally including in countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Haiti, from 2013 to 2017. Previously he served as Special Partner of Highland Consumer Fund, a consumer-oriented investment fund which he founded, from 2013 to 2017 and as Managing General Partner from 2006 to 2013. Mr. Philip was one of the founding members of the internet search company Lycos, Inc. During his time with Lycos, Mr. Philip held the positions of President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at different times. Prior to joining Lycos, Mr. Philip spent time as the Vice President of Finance for The Walt Disney Company and also previously spent a number of years in investment banking. He currently serves on the board of directors of United Airlines Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:UAL), an airline, since 2016, Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS), a toy and games manufacturer, since 2002 and BRP Inc. (NASDAQ: DOOO), a Canadian recreational vehicle manufacturer, since 2005. He also serves on the board of directors of Recreational Equipment, Inc. , or REI, a retail and outdoor recreation company, since 2018 and Spartan Race, Inc., an obstacle racing promoter and operator, since 2012. Mr. Philip received a B.S. in Economics and Mathematics from Vanderbilt University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.