The Middle East game of ‘musical chairs’ in terms of satellite merger and acquisitions continues.
Last month saw Abu Dhabi’s satellite operator Yahsat complete its purchase of a majority stake in Thuraya, which supplies connectivity to mobile, data and IoT clients. “We can confirm that this is the first major transaction made by Yahsat in its history, and will make it the first, global, diversified mobile and fixed satellite services business,” a spokesperson said at the time.
Now Charlie Ergen has made a move via his Echostar-owned Hughes Network System, by making a $100 million investment in return for a 20 per cent stake in a new joint-venture with Yahsat. The joint venture will provide a Ka-band broadband service over Africa and western Asia.
Hughes Network’s president Pradman Paul told analysts that while the joint venture was limited to Ka-band activity, the two companies had discussed Thuraya’s L-band offerings. However, the first move was to get the joint venture up and running before any other expansion was considered.
Yahsat itself is owned by the United Arab Emirate’s Mubadala sovereign wealth fund