Viasat snaps up Inmarsat in $7.3bn deal

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UK satellite connectivity firm Inmarsat has revealed a deal worth $7.3bn to be acquired by US rival Viasat.

The "transformative" deal will combine expertise across the two companies to boost global connectivity, from the space satellites offered by Inmarsat to home broadband provided by Viasat, and everything in between.

Inmarsat currently offers a wide range of connectivity services via its 14-strong satellite fleet, covering not just broadband and internet connectivity, but also in-flight wifi. The company, which was taken private back in 2019 following a period on the London Stock Exchange, plans to launch another seven satellites soon to continue improving its network coverage.

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The deal should also provide a significant boost to IoT deployments across the world, with both companies highlighting the role they can play in taking the technology to the next level.

Inmarsat has recently invested heavily in advancing its coverage, claiming a world first network called ‘Orchestra’ that combines geosynchronous (GEO) and low earth orbit (LEO) satellites with terrestrial 5G infrastructure into a single network, blending coverage and capacity back in June 2021.

"Joining with Viasat is the right combination for Inmarsat at the right time," said Rajeev Suri, CEO of Inmarsat. "Viasat is a terrific innovator and Inmarsat brings some powerful additions: global reach, a broad distribution channel, robust business momentum and a presence in highly attractive global mobility segments. Together, the two companies will create a new global player with the scale and scope to help shape the future of a dynamic and growing industry. 

"The combination will create a strong future for Inmarsat and be well-positioned to offer greater choice for customers around the world, enhanced scope for partners and new opportunities for employees. The industrial logic is compelling and ensures that the UK has a strong and sustainable presence in the critical space sector for the long term."

Viasat says it has no plans to uproot London-based Inmarsat or its 860 employees, pledging to keep its new acquisition in the UK, and play a role in supporting the country's recently published National Space Strategy.

"This strategic move gives Viasat the scale to increase the pace of innovation that drives new and better services for our customers, broadens the opportunities for our employees and provides a foundation for significant positive free cash flow, with potential upside from a revitalization of L-band and IoT service growth," noted Rick Baldridge, Viasat president and CEO.

"Plus, we will have expanded scale and presence in the $1.6 trillion broadband and IoT sectors. I'm excited about the opportunities ahead and looking forward to setting up the combined organization for long-term success."

The deal comprises $850.0 million in cash, approximately 46.36 million shares of Viasat common stock valued at $3.1 billion, and the assumption of $3.4 billion of net debt. It is expected to close in the second half of calendar year 2022, subject to the approval of Viasat stockholders, the receipt of certain regulatory approvals and clearances and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

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Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.