Viasat Buys Eutelsat’s Share of Euro Broadband Infrastructure
Viasat is making moves to strengthen its European position in the broadband market. The satellite operator announced Thursday it is purchasing the remaining 51% share of Euro Broadband Infrastructure (EBI), the wholesale broadband services business created in partnership with Eutelsat Communications in 2016. EBI operates the KA SAT satellite and provides fixed and mobile broadband services on a wholesale basis in the European and Mediterranean markets.
Viasat is requiring the remaining 51% for $166 million (140 million euro). The transaction may be adjusted up or down by $24 million (20 million euro) two years after closing depending on performance metrics.
Viasat said this wholesale business will add to its retail broadband in select European countries, and its In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) service in Europe, providing a foundation for growth ahead of the launch of the ViaSat-3 global constellation. The second ViaSat-3 class satellite, which will cover Europe, Middle East and Africa, is targeted for launch in 2022.
“By gaining full control of KA-SAT, Viasat can further expand its growing mobility business as well as establish operations and market presence ahead of our ViaSat-3 service launch, Keven Lippert, Viasat CCO, commented in a release. “This earlier market roll-out will enable Viasat to build awareness and market knowledge ahead of the European service launch of the ViaSat-3 satellite platform.”
Eutelsat said this disposal completes a reorganization of its broadband distribution in Europe following the acquisition of Bigblu Broadband Europe earlier this year, and frees up resources to invest in direct distribution.
Under the initial partnership formed in 2016, Eutelsat contributed its European broadband operations to the wholesale business, including ownership of the KA-SAT satellite and related ground infrastructure.
With this new agreement, Eutelsat and its subsidiaries will continue to provide transitional services for a limited period of time to Viasat’s EBI business, including the operation of the ground network for KA-SAT, while Viasat/EBI will provide service continuity to the KA-SAT subscriber base of Eutelsat’s Bigblu Broadband Europe division.