EADS buys satellite firm for £587m

City A.M. Reporter
EUROPEAN aerospace group EADS kept up a hot pace of acquisitions with a $960m (£587.14) cash deal to buy satellite communications firm Vizada yesterday, chasing steadier sales from high-value services.

The purchase, from private equity owner Apax France, adds to a string of deals designed to help the Airbus parent firm dispose of surplus cash.

Although Vizida is based in Paris, a contract with the US Army will give Franco-German EADS an extra toe-hold in the United States, where efforts to expand have met mixed success.

Vizida provides communications services to 200,000 users in the maritime, aviation and defence sectors and will become part of EADS’s Astrium space business.

EADS said the deal would boost its earnings per share and provide “significant” synergies. It did not give a timeframe or amount.

EADS wants to double the share of services in its revenues to 25 per cent and reduce its dependence on Airbus commercial sales to 50 per cent of revenues by 2020 from 66 per cent now.

Apax Partners said the deal marked its third exit in the telecom sector in two months following sales of Prosodie and Outremer Telecom. It and Vizada were both advised by UBS.

EADS was advised by Messier Partners.