Viasat to buy UK rival Inmarsat in $7.3 billion deal

(Reuters) – U.S.-based Viasat on Monday agreed to buy British rival Inmarsat in a deal worth $7.3 billion, as it seeks to broaden its offerings of satellite- and land-based communications services.

The deal comes two years after Inmarsat was taken private in a $3.4 billion transaction by a consortium of UK-based Apax partners, U.S.-based Warburg Pincus and two Canadian pension funds.

The takeover offer includes $850 million in cash, about 46.4 million shares of Nasdaq-listed Viasat valued at roughly $3.1 billion and the assumption of Inmarsat’s $3.4 billion net debt, the companies said in a joint statement.

Viasat, whose shares fell nearly 12% by 1544 GMT, has signed up for $2.3 billion of new debt facilities to partially fund the deal, it said, as it also reported its second-quarter results.

“Joining with Viasat is the right combination for Inmarsat at the right time,” said Inmarsat Chief Executive Officer Rajeev Suri, a former Nokia executive who took the top role at the British firm in February.

Viasat offers connectivity and communications services to residential, aviation and defence customers in North America, while Inmarsat is a provider of satellite-based communications services to shipping and aviation industries as well as government departments, including Britain’s Ministry of Defence.

The deal is likely to attract the attention of British regulators, which have been probing a few cross-Altantic deals on security concerns, including takeover offers for companies such as Ultra Electronics and Meggit.

Inmarsat was a subject of British investigation in 2019 when it was being taken private.

“The combined company will cooperatively engage with the U.K. government with a view to operating in the U.K. consistent with the commitments previously made by Inmarsat,” the companies said on Monday.

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