CMA launches probe into Viasat-Inmarsat merger

CMA launches probe into Viasat-Inmarsat merger
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The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a probe into the merger of Viasat and Inmarsat.

Viasat first announced its intention to acquire Inmarsat for $7.3 billion in November 2021. To no surprise, the proposal attracted plenty of attention.

The combined entities would operate a fleet of 19 satellites that are currently in service. An additional 10 spacecraft are under construction and planned for launch within the next three years.

The merged entity’s satellites will enable a global Ka-band footprint and will be augmented by L-band assets for “all-weather resilience” and narrowband IoT connectivity.

Critics of the deal warn that it will consolidate the market and decrease competition. Proponents, meanwhile, believe the merger will help the company to remain competitive against rivals with large resources.

“Together, the two companies will create a new global player with the scale and scope to help shape the future of a dynamic and growing industry,” said Rajeev Suri, CEO of Inmarsat.

“The combination will create a strong future for Inmarsat and be well-positioned to offer greater choice for customers around the world, enhanced scope for partners, and new opportunities for employees. The industrial logic is compelling and ensures that the UK has a strong and sustainable presence in the critical space sector for the long term.”

Today, the CMA has announced the launch of its merger inquiry. The deadline for the CMA to announce its decision on whether to refer the merger for a ‘Phase 2’ investigation is 5th October 2022.

Last month, the European Commission announced its own investigation following requests from 13 countries.

“The European Commission has accepted requests submitted by Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Spain, and Sweden to assess the proposed acquisition of Inmarsat by Viasat under the EU Merger Regulation,” the bloc’s watchdog said.

“The Commission will now ask Viasat to notify the transaction. Viasat cannot implement the transaction before notifying and obtaining clearance from the Commission.”

(Image Credit: Viasat)

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