Shareholders at international satellite company Inmarsat Ltd have voted in favor of the offer by Grapeclose Ltd, a company formed by Apax Partners Worldwide LLP and Permira Advisers Ltd, for all the issued share capital of Inmarsat.
Inmarsat shareholders representing approximately 97% of the shares voted at the meetings approved the resolutions required to accept the offer, announced on October 16, 2003 by Grapeclose Limited. Court approval will be sought on December 16 and the Scheme is expected to become effective on Wednesday December17, 2003.
The deal allows Inmarsat’s 86 shareholders to finally to exit their investment. The largest shareholders are Telenor with a 14.7% stake, and Lockheed Martin with a 14% stake. Other shareholders include BT, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, and Japan’s KDDI. The Inmarsat shareholders were known to be keen for a sale to help pay off their own debt burdens.
About a year ago, Inmarsat started looking for a buyer after five attempts to float the company failed due to the torrid state of the investment market and analyst concerns regarding its long-term plans to invest in satellite broadband.
Inmarsat is profitable, and last year generated revenues of $463m. It was originally set up in 1979 as a non-profit organization to provide satellite communication services to the maritime industry.
Nowadays, its satellite network provides links for phone, fax and data communications with speeds of 64Kbps to 270,000 active terminals (ships, road vehicles, aircraft and other mobile terminals). In November last year, it launched the Regional Broadband Global Area Network (B-GAN) service that offers speed of 144Kbps.
At the moment, nine Inmarsat satellites are operational in an orbit of 36,000km. Inmarsat claims it has the world’s entire surface covered, bar the two Polar Regions. The company controls its network from its Satellite Control Center (SCC) in London, which is supplied with data from its four tracking, telemetry and control (TT&C) stations in Italy, China, and Canada.
The company is now building its fourth generation of satellites to support the growing demand from corporate mobile satellite users for high-speed Internet access and multimedia connectivity. Three new satellites are being built, the first of which should be launched towards the end of next year. The new satellites will support B-GAN, and will deliver video conferencing, fax, email services, with LAN speeds of up to 432Kbps.
This article is based on an original published by ComputerWire.