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Westbury Group Releases Report, "Drone and Unmanned Systems Capital Markets Transactions: 2015 Year in Review"

WESTPORT, CT - The Westbury Group, a leading mid-market investment bank, today announced the release of its Drone and Unmanned Systems Capital Markets 2015 Year in Review. The report, based on the industry’s most comprehensive database of M&A, venture capital and other capital raises, shows that 2015 was by far the strongest year on record for capital markets transactions in the unmanned systems/drone industry.

“The spike in the number and value of deals in 2015 was truly extraordinary,” said Jon Rubin, a partner at Westbury and head of the company’s Drone/Unmanned practice. “This was the year that corporations, investors and the public at large realized that unmanned systems mean a lot more than just hobbyists' quadcopters. There will be broad commercial applications not only for air-based systems, but for land-based and maritime systems as well.”

The number of equity capital raises – including venture capital – increased 98%, from 41 deals to 81 deals. Specific funding amounts were disclosed in 65 of those deals. The amount of capital raised in the disclosed deals totaled $571 million, up 186% from a total of $200 million in 2014’s disclosed deals.

Mergers and acquisitions in the sector also saw a dramatic increase. The number of deals identified increased 60% from 10 in 2014 to 16 in 2015. By far the largest deal was Harris Corporation’s $4.75 billion acquisition of Exelis, Inc.

The most active segment for Drone/Unmanned capital market transactions was the Air-based segment, followed by Supporting Systems and Services. The Land-based and Maritime-based segments saw less activity.

There were four funding deals north of $50 million, and all were in the Air-based segment: including Aeryon Lab’s $60 million round from Summit Partners, Yuneec’s $60 million round from Intel, and 3D Robotics’ $64 million Series C round from a consortium of 17 investors including WestSummit and Mayfield. The largest deal of the year was Accel Partners $75 million funding of Shenzhen-based Dajiang Innovation Technology Inc., better known as DJI, the leading commercial drone company in the world.

While the report primarily focuses on 2015, Westbury is already tracking 2016 deals. The signals so far this year are mixed. We noted Intel’s high profile January 4, 2016 announcement of its acquisition of Ascending Technologies. Following its August 2015 Yuneec investment, the acquisition highlights the importance of the unmanned sector for the broader technology industry. It remains to be seen whether the decline in worldwide public capital markets in the first half of the year will reduce investors’ appetites for drone deals.

To receive the current report and subscribe to the mailing list for Westbury’s quarterly report on Unmanned Systems and Drone Capital Transactions, please send an email with your name, company, title, and email address to unmanned(at)westburygroup(dot)com.

Mr. Rubin will present Westbury’s updated analysis, including full 2016 first quarter results, on Monday, May 2, 2016, in New Orleans, at the largest industry conference for unmanned systems, Xponential 2016.

About Westbury
Westbury Group LLC (http://www.westburygroup.com) is a FINRA-registered investment banking broker-dealer dedicated to providing exceptional financial and strategic advisory services for entrepreneurial middle market clients. Headquartered in Westport, Connecticut, Westbury’s bankers serve clients across the country. Westbury’s finance professionals bring transactional and real-world operations experience to engagements in a broad range of industries, including technology/media/telecom, manufacturing, aerospace/defense, healthcare and consumer packaged goods/food. Drawing on this experience, teams assist clients with mergers, acquisitions, raising debt and equity capital and strategic counsel. The Company works on transactions ranging from $10 million to $200+ million.

Short description: 
The industry's most comprehensive database shows that 2015 witnessed a dramatic increase in drone and unmanned systems M&A transactions and venture capital deals.