KippsDeSanto & Co. advises Ophir Corporation on its sale to LightRidge Solutions, a portfolio company of ATL Partners
KippsDeSanto & Co. is pleased to announce the sale of its client, Ophir Corporation (“Ophir” or the “Company”) to LightRidge Solutions (“LightRidge”), a newly-formed portfolio company of ATL Partners.
Headquartered in Littleton, CO, Ophir is a leading developer of advanced, mission critical, laser-based sensors and avionics solutions. Ophir’s products enable successful deployment of flight-critical systems to enable low-observable and stealth technologies in support of highly strategic and classified national security platforms. The Company’s primary capabilities encompass contrail detection, military air data systems, and other advanced avionics technologies in support of next-generation military aircraft requiring effective and reliable solutions. Through its cradle-to-grave development, engineering, manufacturing, and depot-level support capabilities, Ophir has built a portfolio of sole source contracts for these technically complex, mission critical, laser-based sensors and avionics solutions. Over its 40+ year history, the Company has developed a sterling reputation specializing in cutting-edge solutions where size, weight, and power (“SWaP”) are critical components of ensuring mission success and safety. Its credentialed and cleared team of engineering professionals and physicists provide the unique expertise required to stay at the forefront of innovation in optical system design, production, and aftermarket support.
LightRidge, comprised of GEOST, LLC (acquired in 2021) and Ophir (acquired in 2022) is a newly-formed, leading space and airborne platform focused on high performance sensors and payloads for national security markets. Ophir will continue to operate as a standalone entity, but will be integrated into the broader LightRidge umbrella, offering capabilities that will both complement and augment GEOST’s current offerings of small-to-medium sized electro-optical infrared sensors. With these complementary capabilities and a depth of technical expertise, the combination is expected to enhance LightRidge’s ability to address an evolving threat landscape in support of mission-critical national security objectives.
We believe this investment demonstrates several key trends in the current aerospace / defense M&A environment:
- Emphasis on highly strategic platforms aligned closely with shifting defense budgets and priority funding areas resulting from the evolving global threat environment;
- Focus on delivering differentiated, highly engineered, mission-critical avionics solutions from cradle-to-grave, ranging from initial design and development through production and aftermarket support;
- Significant value for defensible, sole source positioning on programs of record, highly strategic platforms, and classified efforts with favorable long-term funding environments; and
- Continued interest in assets with significant backlog and revenue visibility supported by recurring revenue streams and long-term production contracts
About KippsDeSanto & Co. KippsDeSanto & Co. is an investment banking firm focused on serving growth-oriented Aerospace / Defense, Government Services and Technology companies. We are focused on delivering exceptional M&A and Financing transaction results to our clients via leveraging our scale, creativity, and industry experience. We help market leaders realize their full strategic value. Having advised on over 100 industry transactions, KippsDeSanto is recognized for our analytical rigor, market insight, and broad industry relationships. There’s no substitute for experience. For more information, visit www.kippsdesanto.com.
Investment Banking products and services are offered through KippsDeSanto & Co., a non-bank subsidiary of Capital One, N.A., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corporation, and a member of FINRA and SIPC. Products and services are Not FDIC insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, May Lose Value, Not a Deposit, and Not Insured by Any Federal Government Agency.
ATL Partners Forms Leading Space and Airborne Platform LightRidge Solutions
LightRidge Builds on ATL’s Deep Aerospace Sector Expertise and is Led by Seasoned Industry Veteran Bill Gattle Announces Acquisition of Airborne Sensor Provider Ophir Corporation
Business Wire | 20 March 2023
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ATL Partners today announced the formation of LightRidge Solutions (“LightRidge”), a portfolio company focused on the development, design and production of small, affordable, high-performance space and airborne sensors and payloads for vital national security needs.
LightRidge is comprised of GEOST, LLC, a leading provider of high-end space payloads acquired by ATL in 2021. More recently, LightRidge acquired Ophir Corporation, which develops and manufactures advanced airborne laser radar sensors, in late 2022.
LightRidge is led by Bill Gattle, a 35-year industry veteran with experience successfully leading significant space and airborne businesses. Mr. Gattle was previously the President of L3 Harris Technologies’ Space business where he led L3 Harris Technologies’ breakout in next generation national security space programs.
“We are excited to announce the launch of LightRidge Solutions to drive growth and build a unique and nimble provider of mission critical technologies that address our most pressing national security needs. When we acquired GEOST in 2021, we started a process of building out an enterprise that provides time-critical knowledge to our customers through affordable, yet small, powerful and increasingly autonomous space and airborne sensors,” said Mike Kramer, Partner at ATL Partners and Chairman of the Board of LightRidge Solutions. “To that end, we are thrilled to work closely with Bill Gattle and his talented management team as we drive growth in the portfolio and look for highly strategic acquisitions that allow us to bring more capability and differentiated solutions.”
“I am excited by the opportunity to partner with ATL and introduce LightRidge’s existing affordable, high performance and small space and airborne sensors and payloads to new markets, technologies and missions,” stated Bill Gattle, Chief Executive Officer of LightRidge. “Together, LightRidge, GEOST and Ophir will offer the power of scale, operating synergies and access to capital for research and development and other investment needs. We are realizing our vision of providing affordable yet small, powerful and increasingly autonomous space and airborne sensors, space electronics and C4ISR solutions that provide time-critical knowledge for operational advantage.”
LightRidge’s newest acquisition, the Ophir Corporation, is a leader in high performance airborne advanced laser radar sensors. Those sensors are entrusted as mission critical systems on some of the most treasured military aircraft, including the B-2 stealth bomber and operate in remote, extremely challenging environments.
LightRidge’s operating unit GEOST provides affordable, high performance space payloads in small size, weight and power. Disruptive in novel technical, business and cost approaches, GEOST’s solutions are enabling distributed space architectures.
About LightRidge Solutions
LightRidge Solutions is a rapidly growing designer, developer and producer of small, affordable high-performance space and airborne sensors and payloads and ancillary technologies. Its operating units GEOST, LLC and Ophir Corporation have been chosen to fly on some of the most treasured defense and national security assets, solving our customers’ mission critical sensor and payload challenges for over 50 years. For more information about LightRidge Solutions, visit www.lightridgesolutions.com.
About ATL Partners
Founded in 2014, ATL Partners is a premier sector-focused private equity firm that invests in aerospace, transportation and logistics companies. ATL brings deep sector expertise to its investment approach with an experienced bench of investment professionals and network of operating resources who have decades of experience and extensive relationships in each of ATL’s core sectors. For more information about ATL Partners, visit www.atlpartners.com.