Advanced Television

Viasat/Inmarsat merger approved

May 26, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Viasat of California and London-based Inmarsat can now wrap up their much-awaited merger plan. The final regulatory approval, from the European Commission, was granted on May 25th. The two companies expect their merger to conclude “in days” and by the end of May.

The European Commission (EC) was concerned that the merger scheme would limit competition in the satellite sector and in particular In Flight Communications, and determined that the combined pair’s impact on the market would “remain moderate”.

The EC added in its examination with new entrants from the likes of Starlink and OneWeb would also add choice and competitive pressures in the sector.

The UK had cleared the merger on May 9th and granted an unconditional approval for the scheme. This decision meant that the UK saw no need for divestments or other restructuring to enable the merger to close.

The US cleared the merger on May 19th.

When the deal wraps, the newly combined company will take over as the leading provider of in-flight Internet service globally, and by a significant and growing margin.

The two companies also have plans to significantly increase satellite capacity over the next three years. Viasat has one new ViaSat-3 satellite recently launched that should be ready to serve terrestrial customers in the next couple of weeks. Another two launches are planned over the next year.

Inmarsat has two I-6 satellites in orbit which are expected to bring Ka-band and L-band capacity online over a similar timeline and in the past few days has ordered three smaller L-band satellites for delivery by 2025.

Categories: Articles, Broadband, Business, Policy, Regulation, Satellite

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