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Amazon agrees to take equity stake in Canadian airline Cargojet

Amazon on-board--financially (Photo: Flickr/Heads up Aviation), Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) will acquire a minority equity stake in Canadian cargo airline Cargojet Inc. (TSX:CJT), Amazon’s air carrier partner in Canada, the companies said Aug. 23.

Under the agreement, Cargojet will issue warrants allowing Amazon to acquire up to 9.9% of Cargojet’s voting shares at an exercise price of $91.78 a share. The warrants will vest over six and a half years and be conditional to Amazon providing Cargojet with C$400 million in volumes over the same period. 

In a separate transaction but with similar terms, Amazon will receive warrants to buy up to an additional 5% of Cargojet’s variable voting shares for C$200 million. The vesting period for the second cluster of warrants will be seven years. Shares of Cargojet were trading at levels well above the exercise price on the Toronto Stock Exchange Aug. 23.

Amazon has similar financial relationships in the U.S. with air carrier partners Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:AAWW) and Air Transport Services Group Inc. (NASDAQ:ATSG).

Cargojet provides overnight air deliveries that support Amazon’s “middle-mile” Canadian network, which links the e-tailer’s facilities with other locations prior to the execution of the final delivery to customers. The financial agreement is designed to strengthen Amazon’s commitment to using Cargojet’s services, Cargojet said. The airline also provides customers with what are known as “ACMI” services in which the carrier provides the aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance.

Cargojet, based in Toronto, operates 21 freighters, comprised of Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA) 757s and 767s. The carrier plans to add nonstop flights in its 15-city Canadian network, as well as bring new markets online with the overarching goal of providing later cutoffs for pickups and earlier delivery times to its customers.

Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.