News of the bid came from Inmarsat late on March 19 when it was confirmed that private equity business Apax Partners – which previously partly-owned Inmarsat — was a member of the bidding consortium. The non-binding bid has been active since January 31 of this year.
Apax has offered a cash bid. Included in the consortium is Warburg Pincus, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, and is valued at £5.43 a share. Apax and investment fund Permira took Inmarsat private for about £900 million in 2003 before listing it on the London Stock Exchange at 245p a share two years later.
“The proposal remains under discussion between the company and the consortium,” Inmarsat said, adding “There can be no certainty as to the terms on which any offer would be made. Nor is it certain that the discussions will lead to any firm offer for the company.”
Last July, Inmarsat rejected an offer from Denver-based Charlie Ergen and his EchoStar business who offered £5.32 a share. Ergen was then restricted to making any further bid for a period of six months and that time period is now over.
The new consortium has until April 16 to make a firm offer.