Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

GoGo Goes for IPO

Another day, another IPO on the docket.

This time it’s GoGo Inc., maker of GoGo Inflight Internet service, which you’ve probably used at some point if you’ve ever accessed Wi-Fi during a flight.

The company is filing for an initial public offering that could raise as much as $100 million.

GoGo’s S-1 doesn’t say how many shares it plans to sell or at what price. But it does plan to trade under the stock symbol — you guessed it — GOGO.

There are currently 1,177 commercial airplanes offering Internet access through GoGo: That’s about 85 percent of North America’s Internet-enabled commercial aircraft.

According to the filing, GoGo’s consolidated revenue increased to $113.8 million from $60.1 million, a year-over-year increase of 89.3 percent in the nine-month period ending in September. Despite increasing revenue, the company still lost $25.8 million in the first nine months of 2011.

A large portion of GoGo’s revenue comes from its customers in the business aviation market, for which it provides both broadband connectivity and satellite-based communications systems. GoGo’s business aviation arm has sold approximately 6,000 ATG and satellite-based communications systems for private planes and has signed agreements with all of the largest fractional jet operators, according to the filing.

On the the commercial side, the company cites the emergence of the “connected lifestyle” for consumers, coupled with the projected growth of the worldwide travel market, as evidence of demand for its in-flight product. In 2010, there were approximately 2.7 billion scheduled passengers on commercial aircraft worldwide, with 630 million in the U.S. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the number of passengers worldwide is expected to grow to nearly 3 billion by 2012.

GoGo plans to expand internationally and to penetrate even more of the business aviation market, with the number of business jets in the North American and global business markets expected to grow by 8.3 percent and 16.7 percent, respectively, by 2015.

One of Gogo’s biggest risks is its dependence on partnerships with North American airline fleets for about half of its consolidated revenue. Approximately 45 percent of its commercial airline revenue — generated within a nine-month period ending September 30, 2011 — was acquired through Delta Air Lines; approximately 18 percent came via GoGo’s partnership with American Airlines, whose parent company, AMR Corp., recently filed for bankruptcy.

The company also cites as risks the increasing demand for in-flight WiFi, and the possible incapacity to meet that demand, as well as the need to keep up with rapidly advancing technologies in network infrastructure.

Low on the risk list, though still worth noting, is that in June of 2006, Gogo purchased at auction a $31 million, exclusive 10-year license for three megahertz, air-to-ground spectrum, outbidding at the time JetBlue LiveTV LLC and a company called Space Data Spectrum Holdings. GoGo expects to renew that license, but the FCC could, in the future, decide to auction additional spectrum for ATG use that is not currently designated for that purpose.

Illinois-based GoGo Inc. was originally incorporated in Texas in June of 1991 as Aircell Inc., and later became Aircell Holdings Inc. On June 15 of this year, Aircell Holdings Inc. officially changed its name to Gogo Inc.

Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, UBS, Allen & Company, Evercore Partners and William Blair & Company are listed as the underwriters on the IPO filing.


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