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Inmarsat accepts US$3.4 billion bid from Apax-led consortium

Satellite operator Inmarsat has accepted a $3.4 billion bid from a private equity consortium that includes Apax Partners and Warburg Pincus among its backers. The company’s shareholders now have until May 2019 to decide whether to accept the deal, so there is still a chance that counter-offers will emerge in that time.

The sale of Inmarsat has been on the cards for a while, following two high-profile and unsuccessful bids from rival Echostar last year. It is not clear yet whether Echostar might decide to rejoin the battle for control of the firm. If it does it will need to offer substantially more than it did last year to secure control of the company.

The new bid values the firm at $7.21 a share, which is a 46% premium on the share price on January 30 before takeover talks emerged. In addition to getting shareholder agreement, Inmarsat will also need approval from regulators in several countries. Chief executive Rupert Pearce (above) told The Daily Telegraph that he expects discussions with regulators will go “smoothly. These are very well known UK, US and Canadian investors. There are no fundamental antitrust or strategic issues.”