Viasat’s Inmarsat acquisition clears all regulatory hurdles

TAMPA, Fla. — Viasat has secured all regulatory clearances needed to buy British satellite operator Inmarsat after getting unconditional approval from the European Commission May 25.

The companies said they expect to complete the transaction by the end of May, transforming U.S.-based Viasat into a global connectivity provider across multiple spectrum bands.

Europe’s in-depth investigation into the merger focused on its potential to reduce competition for providing Wi-Fi on planes over the region.

Despite being major inflight connectivity (IFC) providers, the European Commission found their position in the market would “remain moderate” following the merger.

Sizable competitors and new entrants such as Starlink and OneWeb are also likely to exert sufficient competitive pressure on the merged group, the European Commission said in a news release, in a nascent market that is rapidly growing.

The U.K.’s competition watchdog came to a similar conclusion when it gave unconditional approval May 9.

Unconditional approvals for the deal mean the operators do not need to divest assets or restructure the transaction in other ways to pass regulatory scrutiny.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said May 19 it had approved the deal, which now just needs to pass through customary closing conditions in the coming week.

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information…

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