The £5.4bn takeover of British satellite giant Inmarsat by US rival Viasat has been put on hold until the UK’s competition watchdog completes a probe into the merger.
The Competition and Markets Authority today officially launched an inquiry into the merger, having invited onlookers for comment in late July.
The regulator will have until 5 October to form its decision for phase one of the probe.
Inmarsat said in a statement: “The CMA review, with which we will co-operate fully, is taking place against a backdrop of satellite industry consolidation as Inmarsat and Viasat seek to create a global innovator that will safeguard UK space industry jobs and technology, while making significant investments to meet customer needs.
“The regulatory process on the Viasat-Inmarsat transaction remains on track and has secured approval in several key markets, including from the important Committee on Foreign Investment in the US.”
In Viasat’s first quarter earnings yesterday, CEO Mark D. Dankberg said: “We will get a lot more information over the next two or three months. And it’s possible that we could still closed by the end of the year.
“It’s possible to extend out to 18 months or it’s conceivable to go beyond. We will learn a lot more over the next few weeks to a month or two.”