Viasat buying Inmarsat in $7.3 billion deal

TAMPA, Fla. — Viasat has agreed to buy British satellite fleet operator Inmarsat in a $7.3 billion deal to expand its broadband network globally in multiple orbits and spectrum bands.

Buying private equity-backed Inmarsat would transform Viasat into an operator of 19 satellites across Ka, L and S-band spectrum — with another 10 spacecraft set to launch in the next three years for a broadband market that has been shaken up by SpaceX’s Starlink and other incoming megaconstellations.

“The unique fusion of teams, technologies and resources provides the ingredients and scale needed for profitable growth through the creation and delivery of innovative broadband and IoT services in new and existing fast-growing segments and geographies,” said Viasat executive chair Mark Dankberg. 

“Inmarsat’s dual-band global mobile network, unique L-band resources, skills and capabilities in the U.K. and excellent technical and operational talent worldwide, are powerful complements to Viasat’s business.”

The boards of both companies unanimously approved the transaction. The Baupost Group, which is publicly traded Viasat’s largest shareholder, has also given its approval. 

Viasat expects to close the acquisition in the second half of next year after getting the approval of other shareholders, in addition to regulatory clearances.

The deal comprises $850 million in cash, about $3.1 billion in Viasat equity and the assumption of $3.4 billion of net debt.

Inmarsat’s private equity owners, a consortium led by Apax and Warburg Pincus which bought the British company in 2020, would take about 37.5% of the combined group.

Viasat said it has obtained commitments for $2.3 billion in new debt to finance the deal. 

More to come.

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