Inmarsat safeguards UK business after £2.6bn takeover

Britain’s largest satellite company Inmarsat has safeguarded the future of its UK business following discussions with government, after it was bought for £2.6 billion.

Buyout groups Apax and Warburg Pincus secured the move to take Inmarsat private in March but faced scrutiny from the government over the deal.

The prospective owners, who have formed the Connect Bidco group for the deal, said they have voluntarily signed a “legally-binding” agreement regarding the future of its UK operations after discussions with the government, Warburg Pincus, Apax and two Canadian pension funds.

On Tuesday, the UK competition watchdog also launched an investigation into the planned takeover over concerns it could reduce competition in the market.

The deal has also been referred to the government on national security and public interest concerns.

Connect has agreed to a number of commitments, including to support Inmarsat’s role as a leader in the space sector over the next three years.

It also agreed to ensure that strategic decisions for Inmarsat are taken in the UK and that it will support its global network centres in the UK.

The deal would return Inmarsat to private equity almost 15 years after it was first floated on the London stock exchange.

Inmarsat was founded in 1979 as an inter-governmental marine safety business.

It operates 13 satellites and has half of its business still focused on the marine industries, with it providing tracking and communication services to ships and planes.