KKR to sell on part of PanAmSat

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has agreed to sell part of its stake in the satellite operator to The Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners shortly after the deal closes.

New York buyout house Kohlberg Kravis Roberts will sell off more than half of its stake in PanAmSat, the US satellite operator it agreed in April to buy for $3.55 billion, to The Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners.

According to a filing submitted to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington, DC-based Carlyle and Providence, Rhode Island-based Providence Equity will each buy a 27 percent stake in the former DirectTV subsidiary. KKR, through its affiliated fund Constellation, will hold 44 percent of PanAmSat, with management holding the remaining 2 percent.

The new deal was drawn up in mid-May, the SEC filing said.

PanAmSat operates 29 satellites, 24 of which are wholly-owned by the company. According to a company press release, this fleet is capable of reaching more than 98 percent of the world’s population.

The proposed deal is still the year’s largest to date in the US. KKR had originally won the bidding for PanAmSat over two consortia of private equity firms including The Blackstone Group, Carlyle and Providence Equity; and Thomas H. Lee Partners, Bain Capital and Quadrangle. Though KKR will not comment on the deal, The Financial Times reports a person close to the deal said the firm was seeking “the greater support” involved in having a wider investor base.