Advanced Television

Intelsat bankruptcy: “Case closed”

June 11, 2024

Intelsat emerged from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2022. However, there were many smaller matters that its bankruptcy court still had outstanding, not least a dispute between Intelsat and SES over how the FCC’s C-band incentive payments were to be divided.

Over the past few months, these minor elements have all been resolved. Smaller claims have been settled and with the agreed purchase by SES of Intelsat itself now progressing (although not likely to wrap until later next year), the bankruptcy court has determined that all matters it was handling have now been settled to its satisfaction.

Judge Keith Phillips, who had handled the bankruptcy in his ruling, said simply “The Chapter 11 case having been fully administered, the case is hereby closed.” The court issued its Final Decree to all the (mostly earlier) interested parties in a formal notification on June 6th.

However, despite the bankruptcy being formally ended, there are a few outstanding elements, and top of the list is the SES claim. In the event that the SES purchase of Intelsat does not proceed, the Court will retain jurisdiction over any matter pending in the Chapter 11 cases, including the SES claim which is now held in abeyance pending the purchase closing.

Intelsat, during its tortuous Chapter 11 bankruptcy and reconstruction, managed to reduce its debt more than half from a catastrophic (in terms of interest obligations) of some $16 billion (€14.8m), to nearer $7 billion. It had entered bankruptcy in May 2020. March 2022 saw David Wajsgras appointed as the new CEO, replacing Stephen Spengler who retired after 18 years at Intelsat.

Wajsgras has spent much of his time at Intelsat proceeding with its reconstruction and unashamedly seeking consolidation with SES, initially with (then) SES CEO Steve Collar. Collar stepped down in June 2023 having failed to secure a marriage between SES and Intelsat. But negotiations between the two satellite giants continued and an agreement for SES to buy Intelsat (for $3.1 billion in cash) was reach on April 30th this year.

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