Acquisition of Inmarsat delayed after activists pile in

Despite satellite operator Inmarsat’s earlier rejection of calls from activist shareholders to delay a pending $3.4 billion purchase of the company, the date of the final hearing has been pushed back to allow the court to “hear representations by interested parties.”

Those interested parties presumably include activists led by Oaktree Capital Management, which lodged its latest objections to the deal on November 5. The shareholders that have followed Oaktree’s lead include Rubric Capital Management and Kite Lake Capital Management. Both firms sent similar letters to Inmarsat’s board on November 5.

The three existing Inmarsat investors said the takeover offer undervalued Inmarsat and that the company did not disclose enough details regarding its Ligado Networks spectrum assets when it recommended the deal to shareholders.

All three firms said that they would voice their concerns at the sanction hearing, which was scheduled for November 12, if Inmarsat declined to postpone it.

Inmarsat rejected the proposal the same day, saying that “there has been no material change since it recommended the Acquisition.”

However, the company notified investors on November 8 that the hearing would be delayed after all. It has been rescheduled for November 28 and 29, meaning that it has also been extended to two days from one.

The date change followed “discussions with the Court with respect to the time it may need to prepare for and hear representations by interested parties,” according to Inmarsat’s announcement.

Following discussions with the Court with respect to the time it may need to prepare for and hear representations by interested parties, Inmarsat announces that it has rescheduled the 12 November Court Hearing.

Inmarsat’s management reached the acquisition agreement with funds controlled by Apax, Warburg Pincus, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board in March. The price was set at $7.21 a share, or $3.4 billion in total (£2.6 billion).

Investment banks JP Morgan CazenovePJT Partners and Credit Suisse are advising Inmarsat on the transaction and Clifford Chance is the company’s legal counsel.

UBS is leading a group of three financial advisers to the acquiring consortium. Bank of America and Barclays are the other two. The consortium’s legal advisers are Kirkland & Ellis and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, with Freshfields focusing on anti-trust matters.

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