Org CEO Hopes Others Deals Will Follow Belgacom Acquisition

By | August 24, 2007 | Broadcasting, Feature

[08/27/07 – Satellite News] India’s Org Informatics, which acquired Belgacom’s satellite assets Aug. 22, is in discussion to buy other satellite assets, a company executive said.
 “I hope we will make other acquisitions in the satellite sector in the next 12 months,” Ajoy Khanderia, Org Informatics CEO told Satellite News. “We are actually in discussions with one more company in the satellite space right now. We have decided to look for value acquisitions.”

Khanderia would not reveal the price of the ORG acquisition, but the Indian press has speculated that the company paid up to $25 million for Belgacom’s satellite assets. “We are getting all the contracts, all the vendor relationships and agreements,” Khanderia said. “We are getting all the physical hardware, software, antennas, the playout facilities. We are buying one of their teleports. A certain amount of physical assets are being acquired as well.”

Org hopes to use the acquisition to spread its business throughout Europe. “Belgacom has built a very strong and loyal customer base,” Khanderia said. “It excites us to get that customer and business base from them. This acquisition gives us a very significant footprint in Europe because of the customer base. That will over time allow to proliferate our existing product offering in Europe without having to start from scratch. It also give us a great starting point for the broadcast base, because these guys have done a lot of work with Hot Bird.”

Using these new assets, Org can target deals with European direct-to-home players looking to serve Asian communities living in Europe. “What we have noticed, and what we think is the biggest upside, is that while south Asia has become wealthier over the last few years and the economies have grown significantly, they have not got the relevant presence in European broadcast markets,” Khanderia said. “Around 80 [percent] to 90 percent of content from south Asia is not available to [direct-to-home] subscribers in Europe and the Middle East, primarily because of the cost of doing business in Europe, the cost of space segment  and also because also Eutelsat’s Hot Bird has always been sold out. We believe there is a significant opportunity to address that niche market of aggregating south Asian content and providing that to the migrant south Asian population in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.”

However, Org wants to work with all major operators and wants to move beyond just providing content to south Asian communities in Europe. “We are really hoping to work with all the three major satellite operators, Eutelsat, SES and Intelsat and hope we can build broadcast platforms for Europe, Middle East and Africa with ethnic content,” said Khanderia. “Ethnic content can also mean bringing in NFL games to the immigrant U.S. population in Poland for example. Our initial focus will be south Asia, but ultimately we want to address all different ethnic populations.”

Jan Margot, Belgacom spokesperson said the reasons behind Belgacom’s exit from the satellite business were “both financial and strategic” and having sold its stakes in satellite operator’s Intelsat and Eutelsat previously, satellite is no longer seen a core part of Belgacom’s business. Belgacom sold its remaining 2.2 percent stake in Eutelsat earlier this year for 75 million euros ($101.2 million).

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