Advanced Television

Comtech acquires Gilat for $532.5m

January 29, 2020

Advanced communications solutions provider Comtech Telecommunications and Gilat Satellite Networks have confirmed that Comtech has agreed to acquire the satellite networking technology, solutions and services specialist  in a cash and stock transaction for $10.25 (€9.31) per Gilat ordinary share of which 70 per cent will be paid in cash and 30 per cent in Comtech common stock, resulting in an enterprise value of approximately $532.5 million.

The combined companies would employ approximately 3,000 people and offer best-in-class satellite technology, public safety and location technology and secure wireless solutions to commercial and government customers around the world.

Fred Kornberg, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Comtech, said: “I am excited to have reached this agreement with Gilat and believe this combination is beneficial to the stakeholders of both companies. The acquisition better positions Comtech to take advantage of key marketplace trends, particularly the growing demand for satellite connectivity and the enormous long-term opportunity set that is emerging in the secure wireless communications market. I believe that the combination of accelerating satellite connectivity demand and the increasing availability of low-cost satellite bandwidth, makes this a perfect time to unify Comtech and Gilat’s solutions and offer our combined customers best-in-class platform-agnostic satellite ground station technologies. Gilat is an exceptional business that has developed extraordinary technology and has a well-respected product portfolio supported by strong research and development capabilities. I welcome Gilat’s entire talented workforce to the Comtech family.”

Dov Baharav, Chairman of the Board of Gilat, said: “The Gilat Board of Directors and management believe this highly strategic combination is compelling. It is an excellent outcome for our shareholders who receive both cash and an equity interest in a strong company with a broader range of products and the benefits of combined expertise and resources that is well positioned to create future value against a highly favourable industry backdrop. I have long admired Comtech’s commitment to technology leadership and I firmly believe that employees will have expanded opportunities for career development. No doubt, the future will be very bright for Comtech and Gilat and all of our stakeholders.”

Key Strategic Benefits for Comtech Include:

  • Drives global market access by creating a world leader with combined pro-forma sales approaching nearly $1.0 billion annually;
  • Strengthens Comtech’s position as a leading supplier of advanced communication solutions, uniquely capable of servicing the expanding need for ground infrastructure to support both existing and emerging satellite networks;
  • Expands Comtech’s product portfolio with highly complementary technologies, including Gilat’s high-performance TDMA-based satellite modems and its next generation solid-state amplifiers;
  • Broadens leadership position in the rapidly growing in-flight connectivity and cellular backhaul markets which are expected to expand given the availability of lower-cost bandwidth and the adoption of satellite technologies into the 5G cellular backhaul ecosystem;
  • Bolsters world-class research and development capabilities, enabling Comtech to offer customers more complete end-to-end technology solutions;
  • Enhances ability to accelerate shareholder value creation by contributing to Comtech’s ongoing strategy to move toward higher margin solutions and by increasing customer diversification geographically and by market; and
  • Potentially offers increased liquidity for existing and new Comtech shareholders, as Comtech plans to pursue a dual listing on the Nasdaq and Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to become effective upon the closing of the transaction.

Acquisition Expected to be Cash Accretive and Have Minimal Integration Risks

Excluding the impact of acquisition plan costs (including transaction expenses) and with conservative anticipated synergies of only $2.0 million derived from the elimination of Gilat’s public company costs, the acquisition of Gilat is expected to be cash accretive to Comtech during the first twelve months post-closing. Comtech believes that with careful planning and execution, it can capitalise on opportunities to achieve both sales growth and further efficiencies during the second-year post-closing.

Both companies’ global workforces are expected to remain in place and focus intently on meeting all customer commitments and expectations, including supporting all existing products, services and agreements. The transaction enlarges Comtech’s global market footprint with a significant physical presence in key international markets. This increased presence addresses a growing need for local touch points that can offer integrated secure connectivity solutions including public safety and location solutions. At the same time, Gilat will gain access to Comtech’s strong relationships with the U.S. government, allowing expanded distribution of Gilat’s products and solutions to the U.S. government. As such, Comtech believes the transaction carries minimal integration risk while creating numerous opportunities for potential long-term revenue and efficiency synergies going forward.

Comtech will continue to emphasise capturing growth opportunities from favourable market trends, including: expected increased demand for solutions to provide high speed in-flight satellite connectivity; the adoption of new satellite ground station technologies into the 5G cellular backhaul eco-system; and the expected need for equipment and network upgrades to accommodate an anticipated increase in satellite capacity when new Very High Throughput Satellites (VHTS) and high capacity Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellations are launched and fully operational.  Together with its previously announced pending acquisition of UHP Networks, Comtech believes it will be uniquely positioned to take advantage of these important trends.

Gilat announced on November 19, 2019 that it expects to achieve sales of between $260.0 million and $270.0 million with Adjusted EBITDA ranging from $38.0 million to $42.0 million for its fiscal year ended December 31, 2019. Comtech announced on December 4, 2019 that it expects to achieve sales of between $712.0 million and $732.0 million with Adjusted EBITDA ranging from $99.0 million to $103.0 million for its fiscal year ending July 31, 2020. Neither Comtech nor Gilat is revising their previously announced respective fiscal year financial outlook.

In light of the agreement between Comtech and Gilat, Gilat has cancelled its fourth quarter and fiscal 2019 year-end conference call and webcast previously scheduled for February 19, 2020. Once the transaction closes, Comtech will provide combined revenue, Adjusted EBITDA and diluted earnings per share guidance in a future announcement.

Leadership and Business Structure

Fred Kornberg, Comtech’s Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer will continue in his role as CEO of the combined company.  Michael Porcelain, Comtech’s Chief Operating Officer, who was promoted and named President of Comtech earlier today, will work hand-in-hand with both Comtech and Gilat employees to maximise the potential of the combined company. Michael Bondi will continue in his role as Chief Financial Officer of the combined company. Comtech will continue to maintain its headquarters in Melville, New York.

Post-closing of the transaction, Gilat will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Comtech and will maintain its well renowned and highly regarded brand. Gilat will continue to maintain its corporate headquarters and research and development facility in Petah Tikva, Israel under the leadership of Yona Ovadia, Gilat’s CEO and Adi Sfadia, Gilat’s CFO. Sfadia will also be assuming the role of Gilat’s Chief Integration Officer, helping to plan a smooth acquisition and to maximise shareholder value.

No Comtech or Gilat facility locations are expected to be closed as a result of the transaction and each key business area is expected to continue to be led by its respective existing proven leadership teams after the transaction closes.

Transaction Structure and Terms

Under the terms of the agreement, unanimously approved by both companies’ Board of Directors, Gilat shareholders will receive total consideration of $10.25 per share, comprised of $7.18 per share in cash and 0.08425 of a share of Comtech common stock for each share of Gilat held.

The total consideration of $10.25 represents a premium of approximately 14.52 per cent to Gilat’s 90-day volume-weighted average trading price.

Upon completion of the transaction, Gilat’s shareholders will own approximately 16.1 per cent of the combined company.

 Financing and Acquisition Plan Expenses

As of September 30, 2019, Gilat had approximately $53.1 million of unrestricted cash and cash equivalents with debt of approximately $8.2 million. As of October 31, 2019, Comtech had approximately $46.9 million of cash and cash equivalents and debt of approximately $169.0 million.

Comtech expects to fund the acquisition and related transaction costs by redeploying a portion of the $100.0 million of pro forma combined cash and cash equivalents plus additional cash expected to be generated prior to closing, and by drawing on a new $800.0 million secured credit facility to be provided by Citibank, N.A., Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company (M&T Bank), Santander Bank, N.A., BMO Harris Bank, N.A. (Bank of Montreal), Regions Bank, Israel Discount Bank of New York and Goldman Sachs Bank USA. Comtech expects that the cash interest rate on this facility will approximate 4.0 per cent to 5.0 per cent on an annual basis, before any origination fees. Furthermore, Comtech expects the terms of the facility will be based on a net leverage ratio providing significant flexibility. The exact terms of the credit facility will be finalised at or prior to the closing of the acquisition.

On a pro forma basis including preliminary estimated combined acquisition plan expenses of approximately $27.0 million, the repayment of Gilat bank debt and funding of Comtech’s other pending acquisitions, Comtech would have approximately $45.0 million of unrestricted cash at closing with total net debt of approximately $500.0 million or net leverage of 3.85x. Total net debt is expected to decrease quickly and significantly.  Based on expected strong cash flows to be generated from the combined businesses, net leverage twelve months after closing will decrease to approximately 3.00x.

Comtech expects that it will maintain its annual targeted dividend of $0.40 per share.

In connection with the acquisition of Gilat, Comtech expects to incur acquisition plan expenses (including professional fees for financial and legal advisors and debt refinancing costs). Some of these expenses are expected to be immediately expensed both prior to and upon closing, another portion expensed during the first year following the closing and the balance capitalised.  Pursuant to accounting rules, the acquisition is expected to result in a material increase in annual amortisation expense related to intangibles and other fair value adjustments.

Shareholder Support and Closing Conditions

Gilat’s directors, executive officers and certain significant shareholders holding approximately 45 per cent of Gilat’s issued and outstanding shares in the aggregate have entered into voting agreements pursuant to which they have agreed, subject to certain terms and conditions, to vote in favour of the transaction.  In the upcoming weeks, Gilat will call for an Extraordinary General meeting of Shareholders to vote on the merger. The transaction requires the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the ordinary shares present (in person or by proxy) at the meeting and voting on such matter (including abstentions and broker non-votes).

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions (including, among others, the approval of Gilat’s shareholders and expiration of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976) and the transaction is expected to close late in Comtech’s fiscal year 2020 or the first part of its fiscal 2021. No approval by Comtech stockholders is required and the consummation of the transaction is not subject to any financing condition.

Categories: Articles, Broadband, Business, M&A, Satellite