BC seals $16bn Intelsat deal(3)

BC Partners, a publicity-shy European buyout firm, has followed its acquisition of estate agent Foxtons by agreeing to buy Intelsat, the world’s largest commercial satellite operator. It is the firm’s biggest deal to date.

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.