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August 05, 2011

Astrium Inks Agreement to Acquire Vizada

By Anshu Shrivastava, TMCnet Contributor

European Aeronautic, Defense & Space (EADS (News - Alert)) subsidiary Astrium has entered into an agreement to acquire Vizada (News - Alert) from Apax France, a French Private Equity fund and the majority shareholder, for $960 million.

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The latest acquisition is expected to broaden the range of services offered globally by EADS, and also strengthen the group presence across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the United States.

“Further to the recent acquisitions of Vector Aerospace in Canada and Metron in the U.S., as well as the on-going public offering for Satair in Denmark, this acquisition marks a further step towards the realization of EADS’ Strategy to balance platforms with Services, develop business in North America and diversify its workforce,” Marwan Lahoud, chief strategy and marketing officer at EADS.

Vizada is an independent provider of global satellite-based mobility communication services, serving customers across sectors including maritime, aero, land, media, NGO and government/defense.

For Astrium, the growing demand for maritime services is a perfect cornerstone to develop its commercial Satellite Communications (SatCom (News - Alert)) business. Vizada is said to be one of the prominent companies in such services for which there is a clear market demand, and it also serves other market verticals such as media, NGOs, mining and governmental sectors.

Eric Béranger, CEO at Astrium Services said that Vizada is the perfect complement to the company’s existing satellite communications portfolio which is heavily focused on governmental and secure civil satcom.

He believes that bringing Vizada together with Astrium will enable the company to be more innovative, diversifying its range of services and providing customers with greater flexibility.

Company officials said that Vizada will become a fourth business line within Astrium Services. This will allow the continued diversification of Astrium’s customer base as well as providing a complete range of fixed, handheld and mobile solutions across both secure commercial and military-hardened satcom networks.

The company plans to combine Astrium Services and Vizada teleport infrastructures to serve all customers in the most remote areas. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals.

Recently, Paris-Eutelsat (News - Alert) selected Astrium to design and manufacture Eutelsat 3B, a new telecommunications satellite to provide video, data, Internet and telecom services across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and parts of South America, notably Brazil.

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Anshu Shrivastava is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anshu’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell