WASHINGTON — U.S. communications firm Viasat is set to acquire British satellite comms company Inmarsat for $7.3 billion, the American business announced Nov. 8.

“This is a transformative combination that advances our common ambitions to connect the world,” Viasat Executive Chairman Mark Dankberg said. “Inmarsat’s dual-band global mobile network, unique L-band resources, skills and capabilities in the U.K. and excellent technical and operational talent worldwide, are powerful complements to Viasat’s business.”

Viasat provides satellite and networking capabilities to the U.S. military. In addition to its own communications satellites, which provide service to the government, the company also builds radios and has developed the first satellite designed to expand the Link 16 beyond line-of-sight tactical network.

Inmarsat is a major provider of satellite communications to the U.S. military, and the company has been improving its capabilities with the launch of its Global Xpress satellites.

In announcing the deal to acquire Inmarsat, Viasat said the combined company will be able to more fully integrate spectrum, satellite and terrestrial technologies to create a global high-capacity network that can deliver better service. With Inmarsat’s assets, Viasat will have a global Ka-band availability with planned polar coverage. The company also foresees the ability to better use Inmarsat’s L-band spectrum through integration with Viasat’s beamforming, end-user terminals as well as hybrid, multi-orbit networking capabilities.

The combined company will operate a fleet of 19 satellites with another 10 spacecraft expected to launch in the next three years.

“Together, the two companies will create a new global player with the scale and scope to help shape the future of a dynamic and growing industry. The combination will create a strong future for Inmarsat and be well-positioned to offer greater choice for customers around the world, enhanced scope for partners and new opportunities for employees,” Inmarast CEO Rajeev Suri said.

Viasat noted in its announcement that it plans to continue building London-based Inmarsat’s U.K. presence, supporting that government’s recently published National Space Strategy.

The deal is expected to close during the second half of 2022.

Viasat was ranked in 71st place in Defense News’ 2021 Top 100 list, making $1.07 billion in defense revenue in fiscal 2020. That amount accounted for 47 percent of its business. The company was in 69th place the year before.

Nathan Strout covers space, unmanned and intelligence systems for C4ISRNET.

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