Advanced Television

SES seeks Summary Judgement against Intelsat

June 17, 2021

An 80-page document from SES, filed on June 16th with Intelsat’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy court, lays out in historical detail why it wants the court to heavily penalise Intelsat for its alleged “wilful and intentional breaching of its fiduciary duties”.

SES is asking the bankruptcy court to issue a Summary Judgement in favour of SES and to thus set aside the need for a full trial which is scheduled to start on September 20th.

The core of the SES argument, as has been well publicised, is the claimed “undisputed” division of the FCC’s $9.7 billion “incentive payments” for the clearing of the pair’s C-band frequencies over the US.

SES claims in its Motion to the court that without SES’s agreement and participation in the C-Band Alliance (CBA) then Intelsat would “have been impossible without SES’s partnership” and Intelsat repudiated the 50/50 agreed division of the FCC’s award “and attempted to appropriate $421 million from SES’s share of the 50/50 split for itself”.

SES states that it entered the Intelsat CBA partnership with some trepidation. “SES ultimately agreed to explore a potential partnership, but it made clear—repeatedly—that it needed to be aligned with Intelsat as an equal partner, and that it would not consider anything other [redacted].”

SES, in this latest action, again widens the scope of its claims to include all of Intelsat’s subsidiary and sister businesses.

  • SES argues that it and Intelsat executed a “binding contract” and to split the FCC payments 50/50
  • For 16 months, SES and Intelsat performed their contractual obligations and were “joined at the hip in their joint effort” to transition their services from the downlink portion of the C-Band.
  • With Intelsat facing crippling debt and heading toward bankruptcy, Intelsat broke its contract with SES and has claimed for itself hundreds of millions of dollars that belonged to SES under the 50-50 split.
  • [Legal] discovery has revealed a mountain of evidence proving Intelsat’s intentional, bad-faith breach of its contractual and fiduciary duties to SES:
  • “We have smoking-gun emails and testimony from former Intelsat senior executives all but admitting that Intelsat breached its agreement with SES because it suited its own selfish interests.”
  • “We obtained emails and text messages among senior Intelsat executives confirming that Intelsat understood that it remained contractually bound by its 50-50 deal with SES.”
  • “And we have text messages from Intelsat’s CEO apologizing for betraying SES’s CEO and reneging on the 50/50 deal.”

SES, in its action, seeks approximately $421 million in direct compensatory damages, plus punitive damages.

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