Marlink Houston Office
Marlink’s office and warehouse facility in Houston, Texas. Credit: Marlink

TAMPA, Fla. — U.S. private equity giant Providence Equity Partners is in exclusive talks to buy a majority stake in Marlink, the maritime connectivity provider.

Apax Partners, a French private equity firm that bought Marlink from Airbus in 2016 for an undisclosed sum, confirmed the talks in a brief statement.

Industry sources told SpaceNews in March that Apax had put Marlink up for sale. 

The timing surprised some in the financial community, according to a private equity source at the time, because two of Marlink’s main competitors — and therefore potential suitors — were occupied with their restructuring processes.

Speedcast exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection March 11 while Global Eagle Entertainment, now called Anuvu, emerged from its process March 23.

Marlink acquired customer contracts and assets from Anuvu after it exited Chapter 11, including more than 450 VSAT sites serving humanitarian, oil & gas, embassy and mining customers.

In April, Marlink further diversified its operations by completing its acquisition of satellite solutions provider ITC Global, which serves maritime, energy and enterprise markets.

With headquarters in France and Norway, Marlink says it serves more than 130 countries and employs more than 1,000 people.

Providence has about $45 billion in aggregate capital commitments, specializing in the media, communications, education, software and services industries.

Between 2001 and 2021, the private equity firm has invested in European technology, media, and telecom businesses including Node4, MasMovil, Mach, MobilServ, M7 Group, Ono, Comhem, TDC, Eircom, Bite, Kabel Deutschland and Casema.

“Any transaction would be subject to customary and regulatory approvals, including the completion of necessary consultations with the Company’s works council,” Providence stated in a news release.

The companies declined to disclose the transaction’s financial details.[spacenews-ad]

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...