Advanced Television

Intelsat: “SES on a warpath”

October 8, 2021

The long-running legal dispute between SES and Intelsat over the division of the FCC’s ‘incentive’ payments regarding the C-Band Alliance has provoked another tough response from Intelsat’s lawyers.

A filing into Intelsat’s bankruptcy court on October 6 states that “SES has been on a warpath in this proceeding” and had spent millions of dollars “and imposing every burden it can think of in an effort to disrupt the restructuring of its chief competitor”.

Certainly, Intelsat’s lawyers sound very peeved. They argue to the court that SES in its latest gambit “even though it has already taken 19 depositions in litigating its proofs of claim, SES now demands 13 additional individual depositions (so far), plus 30 depositions of two debtors on 60+ different topics.”

However, there’s a huge amount of cash at stake. SES wants a greater slice of the FCC’s first tranche payment due by January 2022. SES is demanding $421 million extra in its claim for a 50/50 share of the overall FCC’s payment. But SES is also claiming a further $1.8 billion in penalties and damages for Intelsat’s alleged deliberate unfair practices and breaches of the C-Band Alliance agreements.

Intelsat’s lawyers argue “enough is enough” and that the Court should not permit SES’s “clear abuse of process.” The lawyer’s Motion adds: “The additional testimony SES seeks is, at best, duplicative, while imposing a massive burden on the Debtors—exactly the pain SES is attempting to inflict, because it benefits from burdening its competitor even if it ultimately recovers zero on what have been revealed to be extremely weak claims.”

SES would itself argue that its claims are far from weak, but that’s what the court will eventually rule on. Meanwhile, Intelsat’s lawyers are asking for a “protective order” to be issued which will restrict SES’s “unreasonable demands”.

Intelsat is asking for a Court hearing on October 13th.

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