Berkshire Hathaway's private business jet operator NetJets is buying Marquis Jet for an undisclosed sum.
Marquis sells cards that offer 25 hours of flight time on NetJets aircraft. Marquis was founded in 2001 to offer smaller fractions of jet ownership than NetJets would sell. The smallest fractional ownership share NetJets offered included 50 hours of flight time annually.
Fractional ownership lets people use private jets without buying a plane outright.
Under the deal, Marquis Jet, based in New York, has become a wholly owned subsidiary of NetJets. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is Warren Buffett's Omaha-based company.
Officials at Berkshire and NetJets did not immediately respond to messages Thursday.
David Sokol, who is often mentioned as a possible successor to Buffett at Berkshire, took over NetJets in August 2009. Sokol cut costs at NetJets, eliminated nearly 1,000 jobs through layoffs and reduced debt to help return the Columbus, Ohio-based company to profitability.
Berkshire said in August that NetJets rebounded from a $348.5 million pretax loss a year ago to produce a $114.5 million pretax profit in this year's second quarter. Berkshire is scheduled to release its third-quarter earnings Friday.
Sokol said in a statement that it made sense to combine NetJets and Marquis Jet to better serve customers and reduce costs.
NetJets said the deal will give the company a more competitive pricing structure and provide a boost to its sales force. NetJets did not specify where the cost savings will come from.
NetJets said the acquisition is part of its 10-year business plan. Last month, NetJets announced it will buy up to 125 aircraft from Brazilian plane maker Embraer as part of a plan to update its fleet of more than 800 aircraft from manufacturers including Cessna, Dassault, Gulfstream and Hawker-Beechcraft.
NetJets is one of more than 80 subsidiaries owned by Berkshire. The company also owns insurance, clothing, furniture, utility, jewelry and brick companies. Berkshire also has big investments in companies such as Coca-Cola Co., American Express and M&T Bank.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.: http://www.berkshirehathaway.com