The transaction further propels Intelsat’s efforts in the growing commercial in-flight connectivity (IFC) market, pairing its high-capacity global satellite and ground network with Gogo’s installed base of more than 3,000 commercial aircraft to redefine the connectivity experience.
Gogo’s commercial aviation business provides Intelsat with key airline relationships and customer-facing capabilities, including a leading software platform, ISP and network management infrastructure. It currently serves 21 commercial airlines, including 9 of the top 20 global carriers.
This transaction will combine Intelsat’s next-generation, high throughput space assets with Gogo’s best-in-class 2Ku antenna to position Intelsat to deliver more cost-effective and advanced commercial aviation broadband connectivity services. Passengers will benefit from an enhanced IFC experience that delivers fast and reliable video streaming, browsing and cloud-based applications from gate to gate. Airlines can expect a fully integrated platform offering high reliability, flexibility and passenger satisfaction.
Intelsat intends to fund the transaction using its existing debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing facility and cash on hand. Intelsat’s DIP lenders have agreed to amend the DIP credit agreement to facilitate the transaction, and Intelsat’s key economic stakeholders support the transaction. On August 31, 2020, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division, approved Intelsat’s consummation of the transaction.
The transaction is expected to close before the end of the first quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
PJT Partners served as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis served as legal counsel to Intelsat. Alvarez & Marsal advised Intelsat on accounting, operational and tax matters related to the transaction. Altman Solon served as commercial advisor.
“Consumer demand for in-flight connectivity is expected to grow at a double-digit rate over the next decade, notwithstanding the impact of COVID-19. The addition of Gogo’s commercial aviation business provides compelling strategic value for our stakeholders and makes strong commercial sense,” said Intelsat’s Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Spengler. “Gogo’s business is a perfect fit with Intelsat’s expansive satellite network and infrastructure due to the breadth of Gogo’s technological solutions, global reach and operational excellence. A priority growth objective for Intelsat is to extend our reach closer to the millions of customers who use our satellite capabilities to stay connected around the world. The addition of Gogo’s commercial aviation business is a significant step toward this goal. We are growing beyond satellite connectivity to expand into consumer-optimized managed services.”
Spengler added, “We are excited to welcome the talented people of Gogo’s commercial aviation business to the Intelsat family and look forward to pairing their aviation expertise with Intelsat’s owned network capability to unlock new opportunities for growth. Our ability to execute this transaction in the midst of our financial restructuring speaks to the strength of our underlying business, our vision for the future, the commitment of key Intelsat stakeholders and the momentum that we have maintained over the past several months.”