TAMPA, Fla. — Eutelsat told the Paris stock exchange June 15 it is selling its European retail broadband activities to “an experienced private operator” to return focus to wholesale services.
The sale includes assets the French satellite operator bought just three years ago from European capacity reseller Bigblu Broadband, and covers retail activities in the U.K., Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, and Greece.
Eutelsat’s brief announcement did not disclose the buyer and other financial details.
Altogether, Eutelsat spokesperson Anita Baltagi said the activities generated annual revenues in the low double-digit range.
The 2020 acquisition of U.K.-based Bigblu Broadband’s European business came with about 50,000 subscribers at the time.
Eutelsat said the sale of its European retail broadband activities follows successes in a wholesale business strategy for its geostationary satellite services.
The company pointed to major deals signed with Spanish satellite operator Hispasat and telecoms companies in France, Italy, and Switzerland for capacity on the Eutelsat Konnect satellite launched January 2020.
The entry into service of Konnect VHTS in the second half of this year will further boost its wholesale business, according to Eutelsat, by bringing an extra 500 gigabits per second (Gbps) of Ka-band capacity over Europe to meet demand.
Eutelsat’s sale bucks a trend in recent years that has seen satellite operators snap up service providers to get closer to their end customers, partly in response to industry uncertainty.
Notable recent deals include Intelsat’s purchase in 2020 of Gogo’s commercial aviation business, and the sale of U.S. government satellite communications provider Leonardo DRS to SES in 2022.
Inmarsat’s international network of distributors was also one of the drivers behind its recently completed sale to Viasat, which has historically sold its broadband services directly to customers.
Eutelsat’s disposal also comes as it seeks regulatory approval to buy British low Earth orbit broadband operator OneWeb, which relies on a network of distributors to sell its connectivity services to customers.
In addition to Europe, Eutelsat has a retail broadband presence in Africa that is not part of the deal.