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Intelsat and OneWeb Startup to Merge, Raise $1.7B New Equity from SoftBank

Intelsat and OneWeb Startup to Merge, Raise $1.7B New Equity from SoftBank

in December 2016, SoftBank agreed to invest $1 billion in OneWeb to support the technological development and the construction of the world’s first and only high volume satellite production facility to further accelerate OneWeb’s vision of delivering affordable, high-speed, low latency internet to rural and remote communities around the world. Intelsat was a founding investor in OneWeb, making a minority equity investment in 2015. The complementary strengths of Intelsat and OneWeb, combined with the investment by SoftBank, are intended to create a financially stronger company with the flexibility to aggressively pursue new growth opportunities resulting from the explosion in demand for broadband connectivity for people and devices everywhere. Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer of Intelsat, said, “We believe that combining Intelsat with OneWeb will create an industry leader unique in its ability to provide affordable broadband anywhere in the world. As an early equity investor in OneWeb, we recognized a network that was a complement to our next-generation Intelsat EpicNG fleet and a fit with our long-term strategy. By merging OneWeb’s LEO satellite constellation and innovative technology with our global scale, terrestrial infrastructure and GEO satellite network, we will create advanced solutions that address the need for ubiquitous broadband. The transaction, including SoftBank’s investment, will significantly strengthen Intelsat’s capital structure and accelerate our ability to unlock new applications, such as connected vehicles, as well as advanced services for our existing customers in the enterprise, wireless infrastructure, mobility, media and government sectors, while also reducing execution and other risks.” Greg Wyler, Founder and Executive Chairman of OneWeb, said, “OneWeb has made incredible technical progress over the past year, and has itself attracted significant investment from SoftBank. With SoftBank’s support we will build the world’s first truly global broadband company, accelerating our mission of bridging the digital divide by connecting the four billion people without access today. While there are numerous growth paths available to OneWeb, we are very excited at the prospect of working with Intelsat on this shared objective.” Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO of SoftBank, said, “We are in the midst of a technological revolution and, provided we receive the necessary cooperation from Intelsat bondholders, we welcome the opportunity to support OneWeb as it creates the foundation for next-generation global internet services anywhere on the planet. This combination is consistent with SoftBank’s strategy of investing in disruptive, foundational technologies that are building the infrastructure for tomorrow, and this proposal offers a win-win opportunity to accelerate OneWeb’s mission while enhancing the Intelsat balance sheet.” The combined company will remain domiciled in Luxembourg, and continue to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The combined company, through its subsidiaries, expects to maintain a significant presence in the United States, including at OneWeb’s new manufacturing facility in Exploration Park, Florida, and at Intelsat’s United States facilities in McLean, Virginia. The Board of Directors of the combined company will be made up of seven directors, including three independent directors, three members selected by SoftBank and one director selected by a current Intelsat shareholder. Intelsat’s CEO, Stephen Spengler, will be the CEO of the combined company. OneWeb’s Founder and Executive Chairman, Greg Wyler, will be the Executive Chairman of the combined company’s Board of Directors. The combination agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of Intelsat and OneWeb. Both the merger and the SoftBank investment are subject to completion of debt exchange offers to certain existing Intelsat bondholders, as well as receipt of certain regulatory approvals and other conditions. The deal is expected to close late in the third quarter of 2017. Guggenheim Securities, LLC and Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as financial advisors and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Elvinger Hoss and Prussen provided legal counsel to Intelsat. PJT Partners acted as lead financial advisor to OneWeb and also advised SoftBank. Barclays acted as a financial advisor to OneWeb and rendered a fairness opinion. Morrison & Foerster LLP, Arendt and Medernech, and Mourant Ozannes provided legal counsel to OneWeb and SoftBank, and Choate Hall & Stewart LLP and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy provided legal counsel to OneWeb. Intelsat operates the world’s first Globalized Network, delivering high-quality, cost-effective video and broadband services anywhere in the world. Intelsat’s Globalized Network combines the world’s largest satellite backbone with terrestrial infrastructure, managed services and an open, interoperable architecture to enable customers to drive revenue and reach through a new generation of network services. Thousands of organizations serving billions of people worldwide rely on Intelsat to provide ubiquitous broadband connectivity, multi-format video broadcasting, secure satellite communications and seamless mobility services. OneWeb’s mission is to enable affordable Internet access for everyone, to connect all the unconnected schools of the world, and to fully bridge the digital divide by 2027. OneWeb is building a communications network, with a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites, that will provide connectivity to billions of people around the world. With more than 10 terabits per second of new capacity, it will extend the networks of mobile operators and ISP’s to serve new coverage areas, bringing voice and data access to consumers, businesses, schools, healthcare institutions and other end users. Softbank  is a global technology player that aspires to drive the information revolution. The SoftBank Group holding company owns a global portfolio of companies, including advanced telecommunications, internet services, AI, smart robotics, IoT and clean energy technology providers. In September 2016, ARM Holdings plc, the world’s leading semiconductor IP company, joined the SoftBank Group.]]>

Satellite Production Startup OneWeb Raises $1.2B in New Funding Led by SoftBank

Satellite Production Startup OneWeb Raises $1.2B in New Funding Led by SoftBank

SoftBank led a $750 million Series F funding round in Grab, the leading ride-hailing platform in Southeast Asia. “SoftBank has a long history of investing in disruptive, foundational technologies that promise to help us realize the future sooner. OneWeb is a tremendously exciting company poised to transform internet access around the world from their manufacturing facility in Florida,” said Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO of SoftBank. “Earlier this month I met with President-Elect Trump and shared my commitment to investing and creating jobs in the U.S. This is the first step in that commitment. America has always been at the forefront of innovation and technological development and we are thrilled to be playing a part in continuing to drive that growth as we work to create a truly globally connected ecosystem.” The SoftBank Group is a global technology player that aspires to drive the Information Revolution. The group is comprised of the holding company SoftBank Group Corp. (TOKYO: 9984) and its global portfolio of companies, which includes advanced telecommunications, internet services, AI, smart robotics, IoT and clean energy technology providers. In September 2016, ARM Holdings plc, the world’s leading semiconductor IP company, joined the SoftBank Group. “I have long admired Mr. Son’s track record and his vision for the future of a technologically-powered world,” said Greg Wyler, Founder of OneWeb. “SoftBank’s investment underscores the evolution and continued success of our company and accelerates our strategic growth plan.” The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. In connection with the investment, SoftBank Group Corp. Director Ronald D. Fisher will join OneWeb’s Board of Directors. Photo: Rendering of OneWeb Exploration Park, Florida manufacturing facility to begin production in 2018, ]]>

Beijing Xinwei Technology to Acquire Israeli Satellite Operator Spacecom for $285M

Beijing Xinwei Technology to Acquire Israeli Satellite Operator Spacecom for $285M

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.  ]]>

@Eutelsat_SA Seeks to Exit @Hispasat, Majority Shareholder @Abertis Oposes Deal

@Eutelsat_SA Seeks to Exit @Hispasat, Majority Shareholder @Abertis Oposes Deal

Eutelsat Communications (EN Paris: ETL) said it is divesting its stake in Hispasat SA by exercising a put option granted in 2008 by Hispasat’s majority shareholder, Spanish conglomerate Abertis Group (BMAD: ABE), which controls 57% of the company. Eutelsat holds a 33.69% stake in Hispasat through its subsidiary, Eutelsat Services und Beteiligungen GmbH. Under the terms of a put option agreement, the value of the Hispasat stake will be determined by an independent expert, says Eutelsat, with the deal subject to Spanish government consent. Abertis said it disputes the validity of the put option and does not recognize the transaction, as it would be inconsistent with a shareholders agreement in effect until July 2017. The remaining minority stake in Hispasat is owned by Spain’s Sepi (7.41%), and the Center for the Development of Industrial Technology (1.85%), which are also part of the shareholders agreement. Hispasat is the world’s ninth largest satellite operator, leader in the content distribution in Spanish and Portuguese languages. The company has six orbital positions and seven operational satellites, plus three more under construction. Hispasat maintains an important presence on the Iberian Peninsula and in Latin America, where it is now the fourth largest satellite operator. Founded in 1989, the company has solidly positioned itself in high growth markets and has a stable strategic client base. Hispasat distributes more than 1,250 television and radio channels through its powerful fleet of satellites and is a key driver for the Spanish aerospace industry. Eutelsat, founded in 1977, is one of the world’s leading operators of communications satellites. The company provides capacity on 39 satellites to clients that include broadcasters and broadcasting associations, pay-TV operators, video, data and Internet service providers, enterprises and government agencies. Eutelsat’s satellites provide ubiquitous coverage of Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas, enabling video, data, broadband and government communications to be established irrespective of a user’s location. Headquartered in Paris, with offices and teleports around the globe, Eutelsat has 1,000 employees. Abertis Infraestructuras SA is a global market leader in the management of toll roads, managing more than 8,300 kilometers of high capacity roads, with a presence in 12 countries in Europe and the Americas. Currently, around two thirds of the group’s revenue is generated outside Spain. Abertis is the first national toll road operator in Spain and Chile, and has a prominent presence in France, Brazil and Puerto Rico. The company also has a stake in more than 700 kilometers through different concessionaires in the United Kingdom, Argentina and Colombia. Abertis is part of the IBEX-35 index and is traded on the Madrid Stock Exchange. The company was founded in 2003 and its headquarters are in Barcelona, Spain.]]>

PE Firm Permira Looking to Sell Asia Broadcast Satellite Operator ABS

PE Firm Permira Looking to Sell Asia Broadcast Satellite Operator ABS

SpaceNews. Referring to Permira, Choi commented further, “They came in after we had acquired in-orbit satellite capacity from other satellite operators. We had grand ambitions for new satellites. They put in a big chunk of new equity, which gave us the financing to do the ABS-2, ABS-2A and ABS-3A satellites.” “Their fund has reached a time where they need to return the invested capital back to the partners,” Choi said. “It’s only natural they are seeking an exit. It’s just the way financial sponsors are, they’re limited to 5-10 years. So whoever steps up and buys ABS is going to buy a fantastic company.” Choi, who built a strong multi-regional business in a short space of time, was recognized in 2012 as the Via Satellite Executive of the Year. “Tom Choi has built up Asia Broadcast Satellite at a remarkable pace,” said Mark Holmes, editor of Via Satellite. “Choi makes brave decisions from acquiring satellites, securing financing, to commissioning new satellites. In 2012, this approach reached a new level when ABS teamed up with Satmex to order four of Boeing’s new 702SP small platform satellites, and launched them on SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets.” ABS offers a complete range of End-to-End solutions including Direct to Home (DTH), Cable TV distribution (CATV), Cellular Backhaul, VSAT and Internet Backbone services with diverse IP transit through its European, Middle East and Asian internet gateways. ABS is a young and fast growing global satellite operator, with an entrepreneurial and creative business approach. Headquartered in Bermuda, ABS has offices in the United States, Dubai, South Africa, Germany, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Permira is a global investment firm that finds and backs successful businesses with ambition. The firm advises funds with a total committed capital of approximately €25 billion (US$28 billion). The Permira funds make long-term investments in companies with the ambition of transforming their performance and driving sustainable growth. In the past 30 years, the Permira funds have made over 200 private equity investments in five key sectors: Consumer, Financial Services, Healthcare, Industrials and Technology. Permira employs over 200 people in 14 offices across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The firm was founded in 1985 and previously operated under the Schroder Ventures brand. After raising its first pan-European fund in 1997, the firm became Permira following a rebrand in 2001. Historically, Permira has been a leading investor in the satellite industry with substantial ownership stakes in Intelsat and Inmarsat. With Permira’s support, ABS has reached a number of significant milestones. ABS-2 was launched in February 2014 – one of the largest satellites ever launched in the Eastern Hemisphere, with the potential to at least double the sales and earnings potential of ABS. ABS-3A was launched in March 2015 – a ground-breaking satellite with an innovative design to connect the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. ABS is now operating a fleet of six satellites from six orbital locations, and is on its way to becoming one of the top 5 Fixed Satellite Service operators globally. During the past five years, the number of its physical transponders grew from 103 to 348.]]>