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Satellite rivals ratify merger plans

30 December 2005

Satellite service provider SES Global SA has confirmed plans to takeover rival New Skies Satellites Holdings under the auspices of a merger plan, writes Aaron Greenwood.

The EU630 million deal will see SES Global acquire 100 per cent of the Bermuda-based company’s holdings, which is currently rated the world’s fifth largest satellite operator based on transponder capacity.

With its complementary satellite fleet, New Skies offers a compelling strategic fit to SES Global, whose Astra and Americom spacecraft are optimised to provide satellite services over Europe and North America. The integration of New Skies’ satellite assets will notably extend SES’ presence in India, the Middle East and Africa as well as in Latin America.

New Skies’ existing business mix also enhances SES’ video-centric core business by strengthening its video, data and government segments. In the government services sector, New Skies’ position as a satellite capacity provider to a range of international governments is also expected to enable SES to reduce its reliance on third-party capacity for government services in certain regions of the world.

"New Skies is poised to become SES’ third satellite infrastructure pillar, alongside Astra in Europe and Americom in North America and complementing SES’ existing participations in Asia and Latin America," said Romain Bausch, president and CEO of SES Global. "New Skies’ fleet considerably strengthens our ability to provide satellite infrastructure and services in geographic regions and business segments with high growth rates."

The transaction, which is conditional upon New Skies shareholder approval, should be finalised within the next six months. Shareholders owning approximately 55 per cent of New Skies’ shares have already agreed to vote in favour of the merger deal.

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