EADS acquired independent global satellite-based mobility communication services provider Vizada this past August for 673 million euros ($934.32 million). The deal, which is still awaiting final regulatory approvals, will see Vizada become part of Astrium Services, one of the fastest growing operations in Astrium’s space business. Vizada brings a customer base that spans across sectors including maritime, aero, land, media, NGO (non-governmental organizations) and government/defense. Eric Béranger, CEO of Astrium Services, and one of the driving forces behind the agreement, talks about why the acquisition of Vizada makes strrategic sense.
VIA SATELLITE: How involved were you in EADS’s acquisition of Vizada? Why is it such a good fit for Astrium?
Béranger: At the end of the day, such a success is always one that comes down to the team. A lot of people worked on this deal, but, of course, personally, I have given a lot of my time and energy to make it happen. Vizada was one of the many targets that we had, and we identified it as such some time ago. So, I am extremely happy that we have been able do this.
I think from a business perspective, the deal makes a lot of sense because Astrium and Vizada are extremely complementary. It is a very sensible step forward for Astrium as well as for Vizada. As you know, we have been very active on various telecoms satellite programs with pretty large projects, and we have developed a lot of competence when dealing with these types of customers. Vizada is more commercial, and so combining the two means combining the two activities, which can cross-fertilize each other. In addition, Vizada has some business on the military side, mainly in the United States. The United States offers a clear path of development for Astrium Services. So, here again, the combination of the two can be extremely fruitful. In terms of geographic strength, Vizada has a presence worldwide, so it has a greater presence than Astrium Services. Vizada is also extremely strong in Norway, France and the United States. We are particularly strong in Europe, in places such as the United Kingdom, Germany and France, as well as the Middle East. We have also made progress in the United States. Combining the two companies enables us to better serve our customers and, in fact, more customers with a complementary portfolio of services. Vizada also has a global network, which will be perfect for what we already have.
VIA SATELLITE: What does Vizada bring to the table that you did not have before?
Béranger: The key thing that this deal brings is the ability to reach extra markets. Vizada is one of the largest independent satellite communications service providers in the world and can provide services to the most remote areas. They can provide services to professional customers, where as we have been more focused on the government side, so adding their portfolio of customers and global exposure is key. They are extremely strong in maritime and are the largest maritime satellite communications provider. They have a customer base of more than 200,000 users. They also have a strong presence in the aero market. So it brings us market reach, as well as state-of-the-art competences, in terms of satellite communications services in the commercial domain.