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Beijing Xinwei Technology Group (SHA: 600485), through its subsidiary Luxembourg Space Telecommunication SA, agreed to acquire Israeli communications satellite operator Spacecom (TASE: SCC), for $285 million. Spacecom is a leading global fixed-satellite operator, offering tailored end-to-end communication solutions to the Media and Broadband industries. Operating the advanced AMOS satellite fleet, Spacecom provides innovative broadcast and broadband services with Pan-European, Pan-African, Middle Eastern, Russian and Asian coverage and cross region connectivity. “The satellites will be operated from Israel, and the company shall remain an Israeli company, regardless of the identity of the shareholders of the company,” in compliance with Israeli Space Communications’ licensing terms, Spacecom said. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, will provide Spacecom with greater financial strength, enabling further development and growth. “The global market of communication satellites is undergoing a consolidation process, enabling the merging companies to improve their competitiveness,” said Spacecom CEO and president David Pollack. “The negotiations with the Beijing Xinwei Group matured into this transaction, reflecting a substantial premium on the market price. Beijing Xinwei is a strategic partner, expert in the field of telecommunications, planning to expand its business in the communication satellites field.” The deal reflects a premium of 41 percent to Spacecom’s average stock price in the past month, said Reuters. Once complete, Spacecom will become a private company, though its debentures will continue to be traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Beijing Xinwei has global operations in the US, Ireland, Russia, Nicaragua, Brazil and elsewhere. The company provides solutions to telecom providers, and is active in the cellular communication field, equipment sales, and communication satellites. Xinwei provides communication network monitoring and maintenance systems, as well as communication network testing instruments. The company is traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange with a market capitalization of 51.84 billion yuan (US$7.6 billion), and reportedly has assets of US$2.7 billion. The Xinwei Group was founded in 1995 by two telecom researchers, Chen Wei and Xu Guanhan, together with other entities. Xinwei is headquartered in Beijing, China. The Xinwei Group aims to build an integrated information and communication industrial chain including R&D, manufacturing, sales, services, and network construction and operation, it says. The group now owns three core subsidiaries: Beijing Xinwei Telecom Technology, Inc., Beijing Zhongchuang Telecom Test Co. Ltd., and Beijing Xinwei Yachen Network Information Service Co. Ltd. It has formed three key businesses: wireless communication and broadband multimedia trunked radio system, communication network testing and data acquisition and analysis system, and wireless government affairs network. It has also developed three strategic businesses: aerospace information, aircraft and marine engines, and International Health City project. Beijing Xinwei has commercialized its technologies successfully in 35 countries and ranked first in terms of market share in many industries at home and abroad, it says. It has also won many awards including the First Prize of National Science and Technology Progress Award, China Patent Gold Medal, and many others. Spacecom was founded in 1993 with the goal of marketing AMOS 1, a newly built communications satellite manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). In 2003 Spacecom launched its second satellite, AMOS 2. In 2008 AMOS 3 was launched to replace AMOS 1 and to increase coverage and traffic abilities. AMOS-4, launched in 2013, established a new orbital position at 65°E, providing a full range of satellite services for Asia and Africa. Spacecom’s partners include a variety of leading broadcasters and service providers such as HBO (CEE), MTV (Ukraine and Adriatic countries), Antenna-Hungaria, HDT, and Telespazio (Hungary), U.A. Inter Media Group, IMC, and RRT (Ukraine), Globacom (Nigeria), Infrasat (Angola), and many others throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. With vast experience in designing, operating and marketing satellite services, Spacecom’s in-house team of experts, together with its wide network of partners, including teleports, consultants, and content and hardware providers, allows the company to provide specific or turnkey solutions as well as tailored packages, from uplink services and playout centers to content management, STBs, decoding, CAS and encryption services. The planned launch of AMOS-6 in the third quarter of 2016 will enhance the AMOS fleet, and additional satellites are planned for the near future. “The addition of AMOS-6 to our fleet will expand the types of services and coverage we provide throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Together with Encompass, we will offer a complete solution meeting the needs of clients seeking a one-stop shop that will boost the types of available services for growing channels,” said Pollack. “With a new Pan-European beam and with its HTS Ka-band spot beams, the satellite will take us into new markets and provide tremendous services to our clients.” The AMOS-6 was built by Israel Aerospace Industries and is reportedly scheduled for launch on Sept. 3 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The satellite’s 39 Ku-band segments and 24 Ka-band beams will provide a wide array of services. The new satellite will be larger than AMOS-2 and AMOS-3 combined and will incorporate new technologies such as High Throughput Ka-band spot beams for improved broadband internet access. The Ka-band spot beams will cover Europe and Africa as well as Ku-band technologies for new and existing clients. Its Ka-band beams have been selected by Facebook to be the satellite backbone of its initiative to bring broadband Internet to Sub Sahara Africa with Eutelsat. Until 2005, Spacecom was a private company controlled by four companies, including IAI and Eurocom Group. It went public on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in 2005. Spacecom’s controlling shareholder is Eurocom, Israel’s largest privately owned communications group. Additional shareholders include Clal Group, Mer Services Group and General Satellite Services Co. (GSSC). Eurocom Group, controlled by telecom tycoon and chairman Shaul Elovitch and established since 1979, has steadily evolved into one of Israel’s largest and most solid private holding groups. The group currently operates via three main business platforms: Communications, Real estate and Renewable Energy. Eurocom Communications CEO Or Elovitch, is the chairman of Spacecom. Eurocom’s success is primarily attributed to its controlling stake in Bezeq Group (Bezeq, Bezeq International, YES, Pelephone, Walla!) as well as in other leading companies aside from Spacecom, such as Satcom Systems, Enlight Renewable Energy, Eurocom Digital Communications and Eurocom Cellular Communications. Shaul Elovitch was born in 1949 in Poland and immigrated to Israel when he was two years old. He grew up in Tel Aviv and married at the age of 20. In 1968, shortly after completing his military service, he joined his father-in-law’s small business of installing intercoms and television antennas and importing telephones. For a time he studied law but did not complete his graduation, preferring instead to devote himself to his business pursuits. As manager of his father-in-law’s company, RAP, the young Elovitch was also involved in the distribution of products by a telephone manufacturing company called Eurocom. Eurocom was established in 1979 to take the place of a telephone plant that had operated with Israeli partnership in Iran until Ayatolla Khomeini’s rise to power. In 1985, Elovitch acquired Eurocom. Partnering with Tadiran, Elovitch became the exclusive distributor in Israel of Panasonic’s line of office appliances, including telephones, fax machines, xerox machines, and printers, through Eurocom Marketing (1986) Ltd. Next, in 1993, Elovitch signed a distribution deal with Nokia making him their exclusive distributor in Israel. A year later Cellcom entered Israel’s cellular network arena and became a client of Eurocom’s Nokia phones, and together the two rivaled Pelephone’s Motorola-based dominance of Israel’s mobile phone market. In 2010, Eurocom acquired Bezeq from the Apax-Saban-Arkin group.  ]]>