Advanced Television

Yahsat and Bayanat to merge

December 21, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Abu Dhabi’s Yahsat (Al Yah Satellite) is planning to merge with Bayanat, which specialises with geospatial imagery and analytics. The combined company will trade as Space42. The news has more than a few surprises.

First is that Yahsat will be the junior partner in the deal. The second is that the combined business has hired Karim Michel Sabbagh as its CEO. Sabbagh was once the CEO at SES and more recently MD at Greg Wyler’s E-Space mega-constellation.

The merger is fairly simple with the companies – which are both traded on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange – swapping shares. The end result will see Bayanat holding 54 per cent of the combined business and Yahsat holding 46 per cent.

The plan is subject to shareholder approval and could close in Q2/2024. The Yahsat and Bayanat boards have recommended the deal to their shareholders, the companies’ joint statement said.

Yahsat’s lead investor is sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Co which will end up with 29 per cent of the combined business.

From Yahsat’s point of view, the combined group will allow more ambitious growth opportunities.

Yahsat also owns satellite-phone and data connectivity business Thuraya.

Mansoor Al Mansoori, who chairs the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi and is a former chairman of Bayanat, would be chair of Space42. Bakheet Al Katheeri, CEO of Mubadala’s UAE Investments platform, would be vice chairman of the merged group.

The implied valuation of the combined entity is 15 billion dirhams (€3.4bn) based on December 18th closing share prices, with the proposed deal leaving Bayanat as the legal controlling entity.

SES of Luxembourg has a 35 per cent stake in Yahsat’s DTH Yahlive service.

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