Atlas Air (5Y, New York JFK) parent Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings has become an acquisition target for a group of investors led by private equity firm Apollo Global Management, with unnamed sources close to the matter telling both The Wall Street Journal and Reuters news agency that advanced talks to buy the air-freight specialist are underway.

A deal could be announced soon, assuming the negotiations do not fall apart, the insiders said, opting not to disclose further details such as the composition of the investment group or the purchase price.

Atlas Air Worldwide has a market capitalisation of around USD2.32 billion according to online financial data. The holding company’s share price surged on the news. Its companies “operate the world’s largest fleet of Boeing B747 freighter aircraft,” according to its website.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Atlas Air’s fleet currently comprises 95 aircraft, including eight B737-800(BCF)s, seven B747-400s, two B747-400(BCF)s, two B747-400(BDSF)s, two B747-400ERFs, twenty-seven B747-400FSCDs, four B747-400(LCF)s, five B747-8(F)s (with three more to be delivered), one B767-200, six B767-300(ER)s, eight B767-300(ERBCF)s, fourteen B767-300(ERBDSF)s, and nine B777-200Fs. Its subsidiary Polar Air Cargo (PO, New York JFK) operates an additional two FSCDs, six B747-8Fs, and two B767-300Fs.

Buyout behemoth Apollo Global has about USD500 billion in assets under management. Its recent investment targets in the aviation sector include Air France-KLM, to which it recently provided funding, Sun Country Airlines, with which it has worked to venture into cargo, and Grupo Aeroméxico, with which it has stayed the course of its restructuring process.

Atlas Air did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ch-aviation.