Aerospace EBITDA & Valuation Multiples – 2023 Report
This report compiles data on EBITDA and revenue multiples paid for private aerospace companies in Q3 2023. The data below comes from proprietary research, private equity networks, and interviews with M&A experts. (Sources)
Each table is broken down according to significant subsectors within aerospace, as well as EBITDA and revenue range, respectively.
EBITDA Multiples for Private Aerospace Companies, Q3 2023
|Company Type||EBITDA Range|
|Airport Infrastructure & Security||6.4x||8.9x||10.2x|
|Military & Defense||7.8x||10.6x||14.8x|
|Unmanned Aircraft Systems||7.3x||10.1x||14.1x|
Revenue Multiples for Private Aerospace Companies, Q3 2023
|Company Type||Revenue Range|
|Airport Infrastructure & Security||1.4x||3.4x||4.7x|
|Military & Defense||3.1x||4.7x||6.1x|
|Unmanned Aircraft Systems||2.2x||3.6x||5.1x|
The following sections include insights taken from the data above, as well as an overview of aerospace M&A in Q3 2023 moving into 2024.
State of Aerospace M&A in 2023
The aerospace industry has felt the effects of the last three years as profoundly as any other. The sector experienced modest growth until the recession of Q2 2022 dropped valuations once again. As the industry strives to achieve pre-pandemic highs, it’s met with high energy prices, inflation, and rising federal interest rates. Still, multiples have begun to rise again as of Q3 2023, which may portend the sector’s recovery.
The graph below illustrates M&A activity for private aerospace companies since 2020.
Aerospace EBITDA Multiples, H1 2020 – H1 2023
A standout in the aerospace sector is defense contracting; with the 2023 defense budget being passed at <$816.7B, the sector saw nearly ~$70B YoY growth over last year. As a result, M&A transactions for this specialty saw higher multiples than other subsectors, averaging ~12x compared to the still impressive ~8x exhibited by other subsectors.
Overall, M&A activity within aerospace is off its highs, but earnings and multiples have slightly increased in 2023. The market has less overall deals occurring but those deals are still seeing attractive multiples and the cash portion of deals is about the same as what we were seeing in 2019. Private equity has become an even bigger player in the last 5 years, accounting for nearly 75% of M&A buyers in H1 2023. Based on the available deal data, many PE shops are adopting a buy-and-build strategy, purchasing multiple add-on companies in preparation for the larger transaction down the road.
Our analysts forecast the following trends moving into 2024:
- Defense will continue to be the highest performing subsector: Lucrative government contracts typically make defense companies more likely to exhibit high valuation multiples, both due to their perceived value as well as the defense company’s Rolodex, which is desirable to both PE and strategic buyers.
- Private equity will continue to dominate aerospace M&A: Because strategic buyers typically aim to purchase a company outright, they often price themselves out of prospective deals. By contrast, the PE firm model, which involves buy-and-build deals that contain attractive equity packages, tends to win over owners in a competitive process.
- The deal process will be “touch and go”: The PE model, which is conditional on aggregating multiple businesses – 1 platform and several add-ons – creates an atmosphere for buyers where deals can fall apart if the parts of the PE firm’s strategy don’t all fall into place. The data shows that owners represented by an M&A advisor or bank have a better chance of their deal going through to completion.
Selling Your Aerospace Company in 2023
Even the most experienced business owners can become overwhelmed during an M&A process. The turbulence of macroeconomic conditions and the peculiarities of dealmaking in the aerospace industry make it even more challenging.
As a person who’s sold multiple companies to both strategic acquirers and private equity firms, I’m happy to discuss my experience with fellow business owners. Feel free to contact me at the e-mail address listed below or through this website’s contact page.