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Canadas Telesat sale close - 08-March-2011, 02:50

Canadas Telesat sale close
By Chris Forrester

There seem to be two final bidders for the satellite assets of Ottawa-based Telesat. Informed sources suggest that Intelsat, already the worlds largest operator of satellites, is one interested party. The other is reported to be a group of private equity investors. Europes SES and Eutelsat have each ruled themselves out of the bidding.

Telesat is Canadas major satellite operator, and its powerful Anik and Nimiq craft carry more than 200 TV channels including pay-TV channels from Bell TV and Shaw Direct. Additionally, Telesat has a growing business in the supply of broadband by satellite to Canadas rural population.

However, with the sale timetable said to be very close to a decision, Telesats CEO Dan Goldberg has still negotiated the purchase of a large chunk of Ka-band capacity on ViaSat-1, due to be launched later this year.

ViaSat-1 is being built by Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), and a SS/L sister company Loral Space & Communications is a majority shareholder in Telesat (Canadas PSP Investments pension fund is the other). Telesat has paid Loral US$13m premium payment for the Canadian beams from ViaSat-1, plus US$48.2m to reimburse Loral for Lorals share of Viasat-1s construction, launch and insurance payments.
Goldberg said the ViaSat-1 project fits with Telesats current business, which includes offering Ka-band bandwidth on Telesat satellites for Canadian consumers.

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