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SES Files $1.8B Claim Against Intelsat Over C-Band Alliance

By Rachel Jewett | July 15, 2020

Photo: SES

SES Americom filed a $1.8 billion claim in Intelsat’s bankruptcy case on Tuesday, alleging  breach of contract related to the C-Band Alliance (CBA). 

In the filing, SES said the two operators had reached an agreement in the CBA to split control of the CBA and most of the proceeds, with a percentage going to the other members of the CBA, but Intelsat “repudiated its obligations” after the FCC released its draft order in February. 

At the time, Intelsat petitioned the FCC for adjustments to its proposed payout plan, timelines, deadlines, and penalties, specifically asking for 60% to 70% of the accelerated relocation payments. SES issued a heated response, calling it an “egregious attempt to capture a greater share of the proposed accelerated relocation payments.” 

In Tuesday’s claim, SES said it is asking for no less than $1.8 billion in damages for Intelsat’s breach of fiduciary duties and Intelsat’s “unjust enrichment at SES’s expense and other related tortious conduct by Intelsat.” 

The CBA was formed in 2018 by Intelsat, SES, Eutelsat, and Telesat to facilitate the FCC C-band spectrum clearing processes. The group pushed for a private spectrum auction. Eutelsat exited the group in September 2019. 

In an April interview with Via Satellite, Intelsat CEO Steve Spengler spoke highly of the CBA and said the group’s collaboration was outstanding and effective. 

“When we created the CBA two years ago, the focus was to advocate fast clearing of the spectrum, protection of existing customers, and a market-based approach to achieve all of that. At the end of last year, the FCC rejected that approach and decided to go in a different direction. When you look at the final order, it addressed each satellite operator individually. The whole situation changed. We are proceeding as the FCC laid it out,” Spengler said in the interview