Shares of helicopter rideshare platform Blade Air Mobility (BLDE 4.90%) climbed as much as 15% on Thursday morning after the company announced plans to acquire a medical transport operation. The deal is a small one, but investors like the potential for it to add to revenue.
Blade is a helicopter transport service that went public in May via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company. The company currently offers transportation in and around New York City, but has ambitions to round out its offerings and expand nationwide.
On Thursday, Blade announced it intends to acquire Trinity Air Medical for $23 million upfront plus potential later add-ons. Trinity is a nationwide medical transport operator, and Blade said that post-merger it would be the largest dedicated organ air transport arranger in the U.S.
Trinity is also profitable, according to Blade, on revenue of about $16 million in calendar year 2020.
"Trinity's long-term relationships with organ procurement organizations and transplant centers are a testament to their high-touchpoint approach to organ air transportation, providing seamless solutions for their clients, a perfect fit with Blade's culture of 24/7 availability and mission redundancy," Blade CEO Rob Wiesenthal said in a statement. "Given the existence of landing pads at most hospitals today, we have the ability to immediately replace Trinity's ambulances with helicopters on certain hospital-to-hospital missions, while preparing for a transition to both existing 'last-mile' cargo drones as well as Electric Vertical Aircraft, as soon as they become available."
Investors taking a flier on Blade are likely drawn to the potential of the company one day operating electric aircraft to shuttle customers around traffic-packed urban cityscapes and perhaps providing an attractive alternative to get to the airport for a longer flight. While that is still the long-term plan, it can't hurt to diversify revenue streams and grow the total addressable market.
Medical transport is a real, sustainable business and one that could desperately use new options to allow for ambulances to avoid those same traffic-clogged streets. Blade in buying Trinity gives itself a lot more optionality and new ways to make money, and investors are cheering as a result.