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ABS sale edges closer

Madrid-based Hispasat and Japan’s JSAT are reportedly looking to buy Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS).

The FT reports that most of the world’s larger satellite operators have looked at ABS, including SES of Luxembourg. The FT says that bids were entered last week. Goldman Sachs is handling the process for Permira.

ABS is owned by private equity business Permira, which bought ABS back in 2010 for some $200 million (€180m). Now the company is said to be seeking around $1 billion for the assets.

ABS, which does not publicly break out its detailed financial numbers, is said to make around $100 million in EBITDA annually. It has a fleet of 7 satellites and was founded in 2007 by Thomas Choi who is still the operator’s CEO.

However, these are troubled times for satellite operators with players such as Eutelsat, for example, having lost almost half its value over the past year.

SkyPerfect/JSAT is Tokyo-based and as well as operating a fleet of satellites owns 100 percent of the SkyPerfecTV DTH business.

JSAT operates two of its satellites via a joint-venture with Intelsat, but few believe that Intelsat would be looking to add to its already significant debt burden by acquiring ABS.

Hispasat is a relatively new satellite operator which sent its first satellite into orbit in 1992. Eutelsat has a 33.69 per cent stake in the company.

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