South Korean defense company Hanwha Systems buys Phasor out of bankruptcy
WASHINGTON — Phasor Solutions, a company that ran out of cash trying to develop a phased array antenna for satellite communications, was purchased by Hanwha Systems, a South Korean defense company.
Hanwha Systems announced June 8 that it closed a deal to acquire Phasor Solutions’ business and assets for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition was finalized June 5, Korea Standard Time.
London-based Phasor Solutions had entered administration, the U.K. equivalent of bankruptcy, on April 7 after earlier talks for acquisition by a multinational company fell through.
Phasor Solutions’ parent company Phasor Inc. of Arlington, Virginia, had been trying since 2018 to raise $25 million in equity to support Phasor Solutions’ antenna development, but struggled to obtain more than $9 million in commitments.
Absent new equity, Phasor Solutions signed a $1.1 million loan in February with its largest investor, Grapevine Capital Limited, in order to have enough liquidity to reach a deal with its multinational suitor. Phasor Solutions had borrowed $650,000 of that $1.1 million before the deal collapsed, leaving the antenna company without a means of repaying the loan.
Phasor Solutions blamed the coronavirus pandemic for the multinational suitor’s loss of interest. Hanwha Systems said it “actively contacted Phasor Solutions for the acquisition deal” following news of the antenna maker’s insolvency.
Hanwha Systems is an aerospace, defense and information-technology specialist that has entered the satellite antenna business through its purchase of Phasor Solutions and its assets.
Phasor formed in 2005, and at one point anticipated commercially releasing its first antennas in 2018, but ran into performance issues with the antenna’s core microchips, resulting in redesign work that stretched from 2018 into early 2020, according to a June 2 administration document. Under the direction of Duff & Phelps, its administrator, Phasor Solutions laid off all but nine of its 30 employees on April 20.
Phasor had worked with satellite operator Intelsat, in-flight connectivity provider Gogo, and more recently, internet-of-things startup Kepler Communications on optimising its antennas for various connectivity applications. Hanwha Systems said demand for broadband connectivity from low Earth orbit constellations like SpaceX’s Starlink and Amazon’s proposed Kuiper system will drive demand for satellite antennas.
Electronically steered antennas, like those Phasor is developing, can track two or more satellites simultaneously, a feature widely considered essential to the large-scale success of LEO satellite internet. The cost of producing such antennas, through, has prevented their widespread adoption beyond military applications.