These tools are less helpful in identifying potential M&A candidates, there is simply too much noise around the data. However, if there is already reason to believe that there may be a potential merger between two companies, tracking GHIN numbers and corporate plane tail numbers is an easy way to increase confidence intervals with a merger arb. or pre merger arb. trade.

Flight Aware allows users to track planes by tail numbers. Additionally, they have an API which provides calls for historical information, owner details, and setting up alerts via a custom url endpoint. Below are some example API calls we use in our Volmanac Data app:

#Get Historical Flights for Tail Number
request = Typhoeus::Request.new(
  "https://flightxml.flightaware.com/json/FlightXML2/FlightInfoEx",
  method: :post,
  userpwd: "#{username}:#{apiKey}",
  params: { ident: "#{self.tail}", howMany: "10", offset:"0" },
  headers: { 'ContentType' => "application/json" }
)

# Set Alert Endpoint
request = Typhoeus::Request.new(
    "https://flightxml.flightaware.com/json/FlightXML2/RegisterAlertEndpoint",
    method: :post,
    userpwd: "#{username}:#{apiKey}",
    params: { address: "https://data.volmanac.com....", format_type:"json/post" },
    headers: { 'ContentType' => "application/json" }
  )

Additionally, we believe it is worthwhile to check CEO GHIN score postings, to attempt to see if executives are golfing together (i.e on the same day). While GHIN recently changed formatting to not display the day of the month a round way played (after Wall Street CEOs were busted for golfing > 15 times / month during the financial crisis), it still displays the month and an astute observer can discover the day by checking often (or through a program). Below is the GHIN record for John Watson (Chevron CEO and good golfer):

ghin

Again, these tools will usually not help to find companies in m&a talks, but they can be used once suspicion has already been raised. If you have significant capital riding on a potential m&a deal and you are not checking these data sources, you are taking much more risk than necessary.