Private equity firms get hands on Inmarsat for £2.6bn

Inmarsat has agreed to be taken over by a consortium of private equity firms including Apax and Warburg Pincus in a £2.6 billion deal.

Under terms announced on Monday, the satellite communications group will be sold for cash at 7.21 US dollars (546p) a share.

As well as UK group Apax and US-based Warburg Pincus, the consortium also includes the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board.

The offer represents a 46% premium on when the approach was made.

The satellite firm said on Monday: “The Inmarsat board believes that implementation of Inmarsat’s existing strategy would continue to generate significant value for Inmarsat shareholders as an independent company; however, there are risks involved in implementation of what is a long-term, capital intensive strategy.

“The offer from the consortium would allow Inmarsat shareholders the opportunity to realise, in cash in the near term, the value of their holdings in Inmarsat at a material premium to the undisturbed share price.”

The deal comes after US rival EchoStar Corp walked away from discussions to buy Inmarsat last year when it rejected an offer worth £3.2 billion.

However, the takeover announced on Monday will have to be scrutinised by the Government, given its position as a strategic asset.

The buyout of Inmarsat would also see it return to private equity hands, having previously been majority-owned by Apax, along with Permira, before they floated the business in 2005.

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