Advanced Television

SES vs Intelsat dispute drags in Telesat

January 11, 2021

SES, which is suing Intelsat with a $1.8 billion claim and due to go to trial in June, is looking to bring testimony from Ottawa-based Telesat into the dispute.

At the heart of the legal dispute between SES and Intelsat is an argument over Intelsat’s handling of an alleged 50/50 agreed division within the C-Band Alliance (CBA) and how the FCC ‘incentive’ payments over the reallocation of both satellite operator’s C-band frequencies would be allocated. SES is claiming $1.8bn from Intelsat in alleged breaches of contract, fiduciary duties and unjust enrichment.

Intelsat has firmly rejected the claim.

However, there was one other party (“a critical witness”) involved in the C-band Alliance: Telesat of Canada. SES is asking the Intelsat bankruptcy court to order a “Letter of request for foreign discovery”. Telesat, to date, has refused to get involved and adds that it will only comply with an order from a Canadian court.

“Telesat had a front-row seat to the negotiations between SES and Intelsat regarding the terms of the Agreement, and played an important role in the negotiation and drafting of the Agreement,” states the request to the court.

SES says the parties were “joined at the hip” while the CBA was running.

“In the months leading up to Intelsat’s unlawful repudiation of the Agreement, Telesat had a front-row seat to the Parties’ continued course of performance to clear the C-Band in conformity with their obligations under the Agreement, and to Intelsat’s betrayal of its hand-in-glove partner SES. Crucially, Telesat was the only member of the CBA other than SES and Intelsat during the critical time period between the FCC’s public auction announcement in November 18, 2019, and Intelsat’s repudiation of the Agreement in February 2020,” states SES in its court filing.

SES is asking Intelsat’s bankruptcy court to issue a request to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

SES alleges in its filing that: “Telesat has knowledge of the facts relevant to SES’s claims. Telesat is relevant to the action by virtue of being a party to the Consortium Agreement. Telesat holds facts critical to this case, including information about the negotiation and drafting of the Consortium Agreement, Intelsat’s performance under the Consortium Agreement, and Intelsat’s repudiation of the Consortium Agreement.”

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