Inmarsat buyout expected after government approval

Map global logistics interconnectedness. Credit: NASA

A takeover of satellite communications (satcom) provider Inmarsat valued at USD3.4 billion looks set to garner approval from British competition authorities, after assurances that the company will remain in the UK for several years and will retain controls on sensitive information.

Under the deal, first announced in March, Apax Partners, Warburg Pincus, and 13 other members of a consortium would acquire the satcom giant, which plays a pivotal role in the maritime industry via its Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) and Global Xpress networks, as well as being tied-in with various militaries. British anti-trust authorities began investigating the bid immediately following the announcement.

However, a final consultation is set for the end of October 2019, after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority issued a statement to the effect that it “does not believe that it is or may be the case that the [creation of the merger] may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within a market or markets in the UK for goods or services”.

Inmarsat lost its monopoly over the GMDSS in 2018, when US firm Iridium garnered International Maritime Organization approval to provide GMDSS services from next year, allowing it to garner equipment sales.