Dubai’s Vista Global agrees to buy Uber-style private jet booker

Updated 10 April 2019

Dubai’s Vista Global agrees to buy Uber-style private jet booker

  • Equity swap expected to close by second quarter
  • Vista competes with Warren Buffett's NetJets

LONDON: Dubai-based Vista Global has agreed to buy JetSmarter which allows well-heeled travelers to book private jets on demand.
Vista Global, headquartered at the Dubai International Financial Center and run by the Swiss billionaire Thomas Flohr, is acquiring the US company for an undisclosed sum.
He said: “Customers today want speed, reliability and value, which in today’s world is only possible with technology.”
The acquisition underscores a trend of moving away from private jet ownership globally as more people choose to buy flying hours instead.
The Middle East has traditionally been a strong market for private jet operators with the Dubai Airshow a popular parade ring for planemakers and private jet charter companies.
But a regional economic slowdown, especially in the oil and gas sector, has hurt underlying demand for private jet services.
Founded in 2012, JetSmarter had planned to IPO and was valued at $1.6 billion just three years ago, but has since faced tough trading.
The equity swap deal is expected to complete in the second quarter of 2019 and it means that JetSmarter investors that include Clearlake Capital and Jefferies Financial Group will now become investors in Vista Global.
Vista competes with NetJets, part of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway empire.


Lebanon’s new finance minister to meet IMF official

Lebanon’s new Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni met with IMF Alternative Executive Director Sami Geadah in Beirut on Saturday. (AFP)
Updated 26 January 2020

Lebanon’s new finance minister to meet IMF official

  • Beirut could be forced to increase VAT and cut welfare if aided by the IMF

BEIRUT: The new finance minister of debt-saddled Lebanon said he would meet with a senior official from the International Monetary Fund on Saturday for a “courtesy visit” and not bailout talks. Ghazi Wazni’s meeting with IMF Alternative Executive Director Sami Geadah comes as Lebanon grapples with its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
It follows a meeting on Friday between Wazni and a delegation from the World Bank led by its regional director Saroj Kumar Jha.
“It is a courtesy visit which aims to get to know the IMF team,” Wazni said.
“The discussions will not focus on an economic rescue plan, which is being prepared (separately) inside government,” he added.
Wazni assumed the post of finance minister on Tuesday with the formation of a long-awaited cabinet that faces huge economic and political challenges.
The previous government resigned on Oct. 29, two weeks into a protest movement demanding the removal of politicians deemed incompetent and corrupt.
Wazni comes into the post at a time when the plummeting Lebanon pound has lost over one-third of its value against the dollar in the parallel market.
Lebanese banks are tightening restrictions on dollar transactions amid a liquidity crunch.

BACKGROUND

Lebanon’s previous government resigned on Oct. 29, two weeks into a nationwide protest movement demanding the removal of politicians deemed incompetent and corrupt.

The economic downturn has raised questions over whether Lebanon will turn to the IMF for a bailout — an option the government has yet to comment on but which some officials regard as inevitable.
Last month, former prime minister Saad Hariri discussed a possible economic rescue plan with the heads of the IMF and the World Bank, further fueling speculation of a bailout.
If Lebanon does turn to the IMF it may have to increase its value-added tax, slash subsidies to the state-owned electricity company, tackle rampant corruption and enact a raft of structural reforms, according to previous IMF recommendations.