SES CEO: “We’re good on 50/50”
February 9, 2022
Steve Collar, CEO of SES, told the SES vs Intelsat trial currently taking place that he trusted and liked Intelsat’s CEO Steve Spengler.
“He was a good guy. I liked him, and I trusted his assurance that [the 50/50 revenue agreement] between SES and Intelsat was solid,” said Collar.
He told the court that it was an extremely difficult time for Intelsat which was highly involved in the final stages of deciding whether or not to enter Chapter 11 proceedings. Nevertheless, Collar said that despite the pressures on Spengler he trusted him over the 50/50 agreement which was key “and at a critical stage”.
Collar explained that he and fellow senior colleagues from SES and Intelsat visited the White House and its West Wing in order to help influence the overall decision-making regarding the C-Band Alliance. The White House meeting took place on February 3rd 2020 and was with Larry Kudlow.
“I remember the meeting extremely well. I had never visited the White House, and we all realised the significance of the meetings, and the importance of what was being decided,” added Collar.
However, on the very next day at 07.19, an email from a key Intelsat executive – Michelle Bryan, General Counsel – said that Intelsat’s Board had decided and issued an instruction that it was not prepared to sign [the document, which agreed the 50/50 split].” The memo stated that Intelsat instead wanted “a flat dollar number”.
Questioned on whether he knew of this memo, Collar said he did not know of the memo. Had he known, he said, then SES would have regrouped and perhaps walked away.
An email from David Tolley, Intelsat’s CFO at the time, admitted in writing that he was “feigning complete surprise” despite already knowing that Intelsat had decided that the 50/50 agreement, and that SES had told him bluntly that “We need to get this solved today. If it isn’t 50/50 we’re out”.