As per company officials familiar with the case, Marlink‘s private equity investors have placed the maritime networking company up for auction. According to a corporate equity report, Apax Partners, who purchased Marlink from Airbus for an unspecified amount in 2016, has engaged bankers to investigate a sale of the company. According to a different industry publication, Apax Partners is looking to sell Marlink whenever it reaches the end of its retention era, which is when private equity funds plan to see a profit on their investment — usually five to seven years. Apax Partners and Marlink did not react to the claims.
As per the corporate equity report, the nature of the proposed transaction has created some consternation in the finance industry since it comes when rivals Speedcast and Global Eagle Entertainment — two prospective possible partners — reorganize their companies. Speedcast has just recovered from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and Global Eagle Entertainment plans to complete the process by the end of March. The individual added that selling Marlink when these operations are still ongoing absolves the business of future bidders.
Global Eagle Entertainment’s willingness to buy businesses is limited as it is working within Chapter 11 rules. However, spacecraft company Intelsat reportedly faced these barriers to purchase an interest in in-flight communications company Gogo. Speedcast completed the acquisition process on March 11, but its current private equity investor Centerbridge Partners is expected to be busy as the satcoms operator aims to merge its existing infrastructure. Speedcast Chief executive Joe Spytek reportedly informed SpaceNews that the organization plans to stop large buyouts like those it managed to make.
“The concept is not to be the switch computer that Speedcast used to be,” Spytek explained. Performing a deal at this period exacerbates the prospect of a purchaser combining Marlink, Speedcast, and Global Eagle Entertainment into a massive wireless communications company. Inmarsat, the British spacecraft provider, is regarded as the possible potential bidder, owing to its efficiencies from its current maritime market. Additionally, Inmarsat’s Global Xpress configuration operates in Ka-band, and acquiring a key force in Ku-band will enable it to gain a greater share of the market.
Marlink revealed intentions on January 13 to acquire ITC Global, a satellite technology company with activities in the marine, mining, and business sectors, to consolidate its activities. Marlink’s sales in 2019 were approximately $484 million. The number for 2020 is yet to be published. Marlink concluded its purchase of OmniAccess, a networking service to elevated superyacht and boutique luxury ship clients, in March 2018. According to the organization, the consolidated organization has around 1,000 staff and supports a build base of greater than 4,000 VSAT ships.