Chinese telecom group to acquire Spacecom

AMOS-uplink1Israeli satellite operator Spacecom is to be sold to China’s Beijing Xinwei Technology Group for US$285 million (€253 million) in a deal that values the operator of the Amos satellites at a significant premium to its average stock price for the last month.

Under the terms of the deal, the Chinese conglomerate will reportedly take on ILS1.478 billion in debt (€347 million). Spacecom’s majority owner is Eurocom, Israel’s largest privately owned communications group.

Under the agreement, which reportedly could face regulatory hurdles in Israel, Spacecom will be under the control of Israel-domiciled company Big Bird, led by a former head of the communications arm of the Israel Defence Force. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Beijing Xinwei-owned, Luxembourg-based Luxembourg Space Telecommunications.

Telecom group Beijing Xinwei is led, as chairman and CEO, by Chinese billionaire Wang Jing. The group is known to have close ties to Great Wall Industry, China’s main space industry group, and is involved in plans to launch a group of low-Earth orbit satellites to enable mobile communications in China following a move in 2014 by the Chinese State council to open the country’s telecommunication infrastructure to private investors. It has also reportedly been involved in satellite plans in a number of international markets, including in Latin America.

“The global market for communications satellites is undergoing a consolidation process, enabling the merging companies to improve their competitiveness,” said Spacecom CEO David Pollack in a statement.

“Beijing Xinwei is a strategic partner, expert in the field of telecommunication, planning to expand its business the communication satellites field, The merger will provide the company with financial strength and will enable further development and growth.”

Major General (Res.) Ami Shafran, representative of Beijing Xinwei Group said: “The impressive accomplishments and capabilities of Space Communication is well known in the industry. The merger perfectly fits the Group’s moves to expand its operations in the worldwide communications market. At the same time, the transaction will provide to Space Communication financial stability and will boost its growth”.