TAMPA, Fla. — Viasat has secured all regulatory clearances needed to buy British satellite operator Inmarsat after getting unconditional approval from the European Commission May 25.
The companies said they expect to complete the transaction by the end of May, transforming U.S.-based Viasat into a global connectivity provider across multiple spectrum bands.
Europe’s in-depth investigation into the merger focused on its potential to reduce competition for providing Wi-Fi on planes over the region.
Despite being major inflight connectivity (IFC) providers, the European Commission found their position in the market would “remain moderate” following the merger.
Sizable competitors and new entrants such as Starlink and OneWeb are also likely to exert sufficient competitive pressure on the merged group, the European Commission said in a news release, in a nascent market that is rapidly growing.
The U.K.’s competition watchdog came to a similar conclusion when it gave unconditional approval May 9.
Unconditional approvals for the deal mean the operators do not need to divest assets or restructure the transaction in other ways to pass regulatory scrutiny.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said May 19 it had approved the deal, which now just needs to pass through customary closing conditions in the coming week.
The transaction was worth $7.3 billion in a mix of cash, debt, and Viasat shares when it was announced November 2021 but is now worth around $5.8 billion following a stock decline.
A $2.3 billion debt package to finance the deal is set to expire late this month, Raymond James analyst Ric Prentiss said, meaning any additional delay would have led to significantly higher interest rates for the transaction.
May 26 update: Rajeev Suri announced he would step down as CEO of Inmarsat following the transaction to join Viasat’s board of directors. Inmarsat chair Andrew Sukawaty will also step down from his role to become a Viasat board director.