Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Two PEU Dealers in Space

Ax-2 pilot John Shoffner flew a SpaceX rocket to the International Space Station. 

After Ax-2 astronauts dock at the ISS, they're expected to live and work on the station for eight days and conduct 20 experiments before returning to Earth. 

His Axiom Space bio states:

He formed Dura-Line Corporation, developing and patenting multiple processes for materials and methods for the placement of fiber optic cable during the 1980s.  

Shoffner left Dura-Line, as its CEO in 1997.

Shoffner turns out to have been a pioneer private equity underwriter, once called leveraged buyout organization (LBO).  Inc reported:

Shoffner, whose father had founded the business (Dura-Line) in 1971, wanted to reach new markets, add new products, and grow, grow, grow. He just didn't know how to get there. Stagnation is common for companies that skip strategic and operational analysis. But an even more dangerous pitfall for companies is superfast, unplanned growth. It can eat up cash flow, strain credit lines, jeopardize customer service and product quality, and sometimes kill off a business.

At Dura-Line, Shoffner and his father reached an unusual decision in 1985. The founder cashed himself out of the business through a leveraged buyout (LBO). 

Shoffner is not the first PEU in a SpaceX rocket.  Billionaire Jared Isaaman led an earlier flight 

Forbes reported:

Isaacman, who had bootstrapped his payments company for 15 years, sold a 53.5% stake in the business to private equity firm Prospect Capital for $279 million in equity and debt.

Two private citizens ended up in space after selling their firms to the greed and leverage boys.  PEU pioneer Shoffner did so in 1985 while Isaacman cut his deal in 2014.

This may or may not be an interesting historical note given the ubiquitous nature of private equity underwriters.