Satellite communications company Viasat has completed its $7.3bn acquisition of UK-based Inmarsat, which will integrate Inmarsat’s radio frequency spectrum, satellite fleet and ground-based assets into its global network. The combination of the two companies will help deliver more bandwidth and lower latency to high demand locations, such as airports and seaports. The combined assets include 19 satellites with spectrum licences spanning the Ka-, L- and S-bands, giving the new entity the ability to deliver connectivity and key safety services in maritime, aviation, government and consumer markets.
Viasat is best known for providing households in rural North America with affordable high-speed internet and it also operates in the aviation market, where it competed with Inmarsat, and in defence communications services for the US military. Inmarsat was the original provider of maritime satellite connectivity and up until recently was the only company certified for GMDSS emergency satellite communications.
The combined company will be led by Mark Dankberg as chairman and CEO and Viasat’s Guru Gowrappan as president, while its new international headquarters will be located in London and its corporate headquarters will remain in Viasat’s head office in Carlsbad, California. In payment, Inmarsat’s ownership consortium received $550m in cash and 45 million shares of Viasat common stock, or approximately 37% of the combined company. Viasat drew down around $1.35bn in financing to complete the deal.
Dankberg praised the deal, saying: “The combination of our companies brings together the people, technology, innovation, network assets, spectrum resources and global partnerships needed to help connect the world more affordably, securely and reliably. Together, we believe we are positioned to offer customers a multi-layered network that gives them the right connectivity at the right time, place and price.”
The move comes as satellite operators look for ways to improve connectivity and compete with the rising number of low Earth orbit and non-satellite solutions such as Loon and Starlink. Acquisitions and consolidation in the industry should also allow operators to cut costs and increase profit margins.