Viasat acquires $7.3bn Inmarsat to create space-based broadband giant

US telecoms giant Viasat has announced the acquisition of the UK’s Inmarsat for $7.3 billion in a move it claims will “massively boost” its global broadband and narrowband networks in terms of number of satellites and available spectrum.

The cash and equity deal will see the two companies combine terrestrial and satellite assets to achieve higher speeds. Viasast said it would use its enhanced network to target “high demand locations like airports and shipping hubs”.

The deal is expected to complete in 2022 following regulatory approval, after which Viasat will operate 19 satellites across the Ka, L, and S-bands, with 10 additional spacecraft set for deployment in the next three years.

Viasat said the deal was the next step towards creating one of the world’s largest space-based broadband providers, alongside the likes of Elon Musk’s Starlink constellation, the UK government-backed OneWeb and Boeing, who recently announced plans to launch satellites that will provide internet services from space.

Having acquired Inmarsat from private equity owners Apax Partners and Warburg Pincus, Viasat will be able to boast global Ka-band coverage, including polar regions, following the launches of new highly elliptical orbit communications satellites.

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