Viasat's headquarters in Carlsbad, California. Credit: Viasat

TAMPA, Fla. — Viasat said May 31 it closed the acquisition of Inmarsat it announced a year and a half ago after clearing all regulatory hurdles to consolidate the satellite operators.

Mark Dankberg, Viasat’s chair and CEO, is taking the same roles for the combined company. Former Inmarsat CEO Rajeev Suri and chair Andy Sukawaty are becoming board directors at Viasat to represent the private equity group that owned the British satellite operator.

The corporate headquarters of the combined group is based at Viasat’s HQ in Carlsbad, California. Inmarsat’s base in London is the group’s global international business headquarters.

Viasat spokesperson Deb Green said further decisions are ongoing around the group’s organizational structure and the integration of people, processes, and systems.

“There is no set deadline for completion and in an industry as dynamic as ours, the process of adaptation and change will be on-going,” Green said via email.

Regulators in Europe and the United Kingdom had heavily scrutinized the merger, focusing mainly on concerns it could lead to higher prices for Wi-Fi on planes and reduced quality.

Following lengthy investigations, regulators ruled that established players and newer market entrants such as SpaceX’s Starlink would place sufficient competitive pressure on the enlarged group.

Viasat and Inmarsat have 19 in-orbit satellites across Ka-, L- and S- band spectrum to provide connectivity and safety services across maritime, aviation, government, and consumer markets.

Their merger announcement sparked additional consolidation plans as operators look to bolster their defenses amid a growing competitive threat from Starlink in the satellite broadband market. 

Eutelsat announced plans to buy OneWeb in November 2022 and hopes to complete its merger this summer.

SES and Intelsat confirmed March 29 they were in talks about merging, although they have not provided a meaningful update since then.

The financials

Inmarsat’s shareholders are getting $551 million in cash from the deal and shares representing 37.6% of Viasat’s common stock.

The cash portion of the transaction was reduced from $850 million after Inmarsat paid a $299 million special dividend to its shareholders in April 2022.

Viasat said it drew down on about $1.35 billion of its committed financing package to support the deal, which also includes the assumption of debt.

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...