European buyout firm BC Partners has sealed its biggest transaction to date, buying satellite operator Intelsat in a $16 billion secondary deal.
BC has agreed to pay $5.03 billion to acquire a 76 percent stake in Intelsat, according to a statement, while assuming $11.4 billion in debt. The company’s previous private equity owners – Apax Partners, Permira, Apollo Management and Madison Dearborn – will retain the remaining equity.
Bermuda-based Intelsat is the world’s largest commercial satellite operator, with 51 satellites currently in operation. It serves a worldwide client base, including US broadcasters NBC and CBS.
The private equity consortium – known as Zeus – bought the business in 2004 for about $3.1 billion, and a year later, added PanAmSat, a rival satellite operator owned by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. The four firms could realise a tenfold return on their original investment with the sale to BC, according to an earlier report in Bloomberg.
It is the second high-profile deal completed by the notoriously low-profile BC Partners in a matter of months. The buyout firm, which is currently investing a €5.5 billion buyout fund, also ecently bought UK estate agent Foxtons.