Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. will buy as many as 425 planes from Bombardier Inc. and Textron Inc.'s Cessna in a deal valued at $9.6 billion as the billionaire investor bets on an increase in luxury travel.
The transaction covers as many as 275 Bombardier Challenger aircraft, including 100 firm orders, Berkshire's NetJets unit said Monday. The Cessna portion of the transaction consists of as many as 150 Citation Latitude jets, of which 25 orders are firm, according to NetJets.
The order is the largest ever for business aircraft, according to NetJets, eclipsing the $6.7-billion list value for the company's March 2011 purchase of as many as 120 Bombardier planes. NetJets, which provides fractional aircraft ownership to corporate clients and wealthy individuals, is counting on increased sales inside the United States and abroad.
"There is a lot of pent-up demand out there," said Janine Iannarelli, president of Houston plane broker Par Avion. "Maybe NetJets is getting ahead of the curve and has the money to do it with."
The $9.6-billion value for the order is based on list prices for the jets, NetJets Chief Executive Jordan Hansell said. Challenger deliveries will begin in 2014, and the Cessnas will begin arriving in 2016, NetJets said. Fleet purchases are typically done at a discount.