US giant Viasat’s £5.4bn takeover of British satellite firm Inmarsat faces probe


US giant Viasat’s £5.4bn takeover of British satellite firm Inmarsat faces probe

  • The British satellite firm agreed to the takeover in November
  • It was approved by Viasat shareholders last month 
  • The CMA said yesterday it was investigating whether the deal may result ‘in a substantial lessening of competition’ in the UK

Competition watchdogs will probe Inmarsat’s £5.4bn takeover by a US rival. 

The British satellite firm, which provides in-flight wifi for airlines and internet connections for boats – including the prestigious Volvo Ocean Race, agreed to the takeover in November. 

It was approved by Viasat shareholders last month. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said yesterday it was investigating whether the deal may result ‘in a substantial lessening of competition’ in the UK. 

Making waves: An Inmarsat unit on a Volvo Ocean Race yacht

Viasat boss Rick Baldridge flew to Britain this year to win political support for the deal. In March, Viasat and Inmarsat said they had agreed to a number of legally binding commitments with the Government. 

They included pledges to increase the number of highly skilled jobs, raise R&D spending and keep key operations in Britain. Founded in 1979, Inmarsat began life as a UN agency helping distressed sailors send SOS signals. 

It employs around 1,800 staff across the world, including 860 in London. Its technology is used in everything from climatechange tracking to keeping rural cattle farmers connected to the internet. 

Annual results showed revenues up 6pc to £1bn in 2021 and a profit of £13m, after a loss of £139m the year before.

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