Thursday 25 April 2019

Inmarsat shares leap higher on £2.5bn takeover talks

The satellite communications group is in discussions after an approach from an investor group led by private equity firms Apax and Warburg Pincus.

Shares in UK satellite communications group Inmarsat have soared higher after it said it was considering a 3.3 billion US dollar (£2.5 billion) takeover bid.
Shares in UK satellite communications group Inmarsat have soared higher after it said it was considering a 3.3 billion US dollar (£2.5 billion) takeover bid.

By Holly Williams, Press Association Deputy City Editor

Shares in UK satellite communications group Inmarsat have soared higher after it said it was considering a 3.3 billion US dollar (£2.5 billion) takeover bid.

The stock surged by 17% following Tuesday night’s announcement that it had received an approach from an investor group led by private equity firms Apax and Warburg Pincus.

Inmarsat said the consortium tabled the cash proposal offering 7.21 US dollars (545p) a share on January 31 – around 24% higher than Tuesday’s closing price of 437.8p a share and 47% higher than when the approach was made.

Inmarsat said the proposed offer remains “under discussion”.

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 group is required to make a firm offer by April 16 under UK Takeover Panel rules, according to Inmarsat.

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

However, a takeover of Inmarsat would have to be scrutinised by the Government, given its position as a strategic asset.

The proposed 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.

Analyst John Karidis said the latest offer “compares with that from Echostar last June”, which was described at the time by Inmarsat as being “way below” fair value.

But Mr Karidis said if Inmarsat changes its mind, then, at around 544p a share in cash, he believes shareholders “should accept the bid”.

Press Association

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