Belfast Telegraph

Private equity firms get hands on Inmarsat for £2.6bn

The offer represents a 46% premium on when the approach was made.

Satellite firm Inmarsat has agreed to a £2.6bn takeover (PA)
Satellite firm Inmarsat has agreed to a £2.6bn takeover (PA)

Inmarsat has agreed to be taken over by a consortium of private equity firms including Apax and Warburg Pincus in a £2.6 billion deal.

Under terms announced on Monday, the satellite communications group will be sold for cash at 7.21 US dollars (546p) a share.

As well as UK group Apax and US-based Warburg Pincus, the consortium includes the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board.

The Inmarsat board believes that implementation of Inmarsat’s existing strategy would continue to generate significant value for Inmarsat shareholders as an independent company

The offer represents a 46% premium on when the approach was made.

The satellite firm said on Monday: “The Inmarsat board believes that implementation of Inmarsat’s existing strategy would continue to generate significant value for Inmarsat shareholders as an independent company; however, there are risks involved in implementation of what is a long-term, capital intensive strategy.

“The offer from the consortium would allow Inmarsat shareholders the opportunity to realise, in cash in the near term, the value of their holdings in Inmarsat at a material premium to the undisturbed share price.”

Shares in Inmarsat were up nearly 9% in afternoon trade at 551p.

The deal comes after US rival EchoStar Corp walked away from discussions to buy Inmarsat last year when it rejected an offer worth £3.2 billion.

However, the takeover announced on Monday will have to be scrutinised by the Government, given its position as a strategic asset.

Helal Miah, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, said: “As one of the few large technology groups left in the UK and one that is of strategic and security importance, the Government has previously mentioned that these businesses could be protected from overseas takeovers.

“This became an issue when ARM Holdings was taken over immediately after the EU referendum in 2016. But, given how distracted we are with Brexit, could we actually be losing control of key companies rather than ‘taking back control?'”

The buyout of Inmarsat would also see it return to private equity hands, having previously been majority-owned by Apax, along with Permira, before they floated the business in 2005.

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