Thursday, February 13, 2014

Telesat Being Shopped Around, Again

          by Chuck Black

Telesat HQ in Ottawa. Photo c/o Telesat
US based Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co. (KKR) and the Carlyle Group, along with UK based Apax Partners LLP (APAX), Toronto based Onex Corp. (OCX) and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) are each weighing separate bids for Canadian satellite company Telesat Holdings Inc., at least according to the February 13th, 2014 Bloomberg article "KKR, Apax Said Among Buyout Firms Weighing Offers for Telesat."

The article quoted unnamed "people with knowledge of the matter," as the source of the information and further stated that "the process will be culled to one or two offers in March."

The sellers are seeking a price of about $6.5Bln in a deal that would require joint shareholders Loral Space & Communications Inc. (which owns 63% of Telesat) and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (a Canadian crown corporation which owns the remaining, minority share of the company but also controls 67% of the voting rights) to both sell their shares to the new owner. The deal could be completed as early as April 2014.

Telesat executive team. Photo c/o Telesat.
Of course, Telesat owners have been looking at offers for awhile, almost since the present ownership structure was put into place in 2007. 

The July 31st, 2009 post, "Telesat HQ Likely to Remain In Ottawa Just Down the Street from Golf Course," focused on company concerns and options relating to a Canadian federal government proposal to auction off satellite orbital slots. The March 21st, 2010 post "Telesat Hunting for Deals: Report on Business," mentioned the possibility of a sale "after the federal government said it would loosen foreign ownership restrictions in the telecom sector."

The February 4th, 2011 post "Interesting Speculation About Telesat," dealt with some of the business logic behind a potential sale, by looking at what happened when Telesat merged with Loral Skynet in 2007, while the March 10th, 2011 post "Telesat Sale (or Recapitalization) Near (or Not)" looked at the confusing situation in 2011, just before the last serious attempt to sell the company.

Of course, the September 1st, 2012 post "Will Telesat IPO before July 25th, 2013?" provided the first public confirmation that at least one of the company shareholders was still looking to leave, if not in 2013, then eventually.

Only time will tell if the current deal ends up moving forward, unlike all the earlier ones. 

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