Spacecom’s Amos-6, the last telecom satellite IAI built, in an anechoic chamber. Credit: Spacecom

WASHINGTON — Israeli satellite operator Spacecom says efforts to sell itself to a Chinese company have stalled in recent weeks, but the Tel Aviv company has not given up on the merger.

Beijing Xinwei Technology Group was ready to pay $285 million for Spacecom last year pending the successful launch of Amos-6, a large Ka- and Ku-band satellite built to serve Africa, the Middle East and Europe. But the satellite was destroyed Sept. 1 when its SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher exploded two days before liftoff.

Reports that Beijing Xinwei Technology Group had lowered its offer to $190 million prompted denials from Spacecom in early December.

Last week, Spacecom told the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that it has not given up on a sale to Beijing Xinwei Technology Group but disclosed that the two sides haven’t talked “recently.”

“In following up the company’s earlier statements on this matter, the company wishes to inform that although the sides have not decided to cease negotiations, in reality during the recent period, there have not been discussions between the sides,” Spacecom said in its filing with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Spacecom said that both sides “sides continue to show interest in the deal,” and that “a number of differences on fundamental issues remain open between the sides.”

Spacecom also told the stock exchange that “a number of other players” have
shown interest in a deal should Xinwei decide to pass.

Eurocom, a private telecommunications group that owns Spacecom, has been trying for several years to sell the satellite operator.

Spacecom has three satellites in service with coverage stretching from the U.S. East Coast to Europe, Africa and parts of Asia. The company’s youngest satellite, Amos-5, went dark in 2015 due to a power failure. Spacecom ordered a $161 million satellite from El Segundo, California-based Boeing Satellite Systems International in December to replace Amos-5 and provide some of the Ka-band capacity lost with Amos-6. The satellite, Amos-17, is due to launch in 2019.

Spacecom also agreed in December to pay AsiaSat $88 million to borrow the Ku-band payload aboard AsiaSat-8 for at least four years. The lease is meant to further relieve the sting of losing Amos-6.

Caleb Henry is a former SpaceNews staff writer covering satellites, telecom and launch. He previously worked for Via Satellite and NewSpace Global.He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science along with a minor in astronomy from...