TA Associates in Australia buyout

TA Associates has bought an Australian satellite communications company to facilitate a merger with its portfolio company SpeedCast.

Boston-based TA Associates has bought Australian Satellite Communications (ASC) in order to merge it with its previously acquired Hong Kong-based SpeedCast, according to a joint statement.

The deal was funded almost completely out of several TA Associates funds, with a small co-investment from the SpeedCast management team, according to Edward Sippel, Asia Pacific managing principal at TA Associates. The financial details were not disclosed due to a confidentiality agreement with the buyer.

A small amount of debt funding was used, but that also came from TA Associates’ debt fund, Sippel added. The vast majority of the deal was funded with equity.

In September, TA Associates bought SpeedCast from Asia Satellite Telecommunications for $32 million, as reported earlier. Sippel added that his firm was working on the ASC deal at the same time, and had always planned to merge the companies, but for various reasons the ASC deal had to close six weeks later than the SpeedCast one.

“We signed the deal with the companies at the same time,” Sippel said. “It was a very planned strategy.”

TA Associates now controls the board of ASC, and he is one of the members. No cost-cutting measures at ASC are planned.

SpeedCast currently offers network services in 30 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, but not in Australia. ASC, on the other hand, operates throughout Australia, specifically focusing on the mining and oil & gas industries among other markets.

There is no overlap in the companies, which will facilitate the merger very well, Sippel said. Where ASC previously couldn’t reach customers in Indonesia or the Middle East, now SpeedCast can.

“This is a very fragmented sector, and we hope to play a role in consolidating it,” he added.

TA Associates has two Asia offices and $16.5 billion assets under management. The firm has raised four funds with a partial Asia focus, the most recent one launched in 2011, targeting $1.75 billion. As of May, the fund had raised $1.05 billion, according to Private Equity International’s data division.