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RigNet acquires Inmarsat’s retail energy operations

Inmarsat, RigNet sign distribution agreement for GX and L-band services
Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat

Inmarsat, a leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, and RigNet, a leading global provider of managed remote communications solutions to the oil and gas industry, have announced a wide-ranging strategic transaction involving the appointment of RigNet to distribute Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) and L-band services to the energy sector and the sale of Inmarsat’s retail energy business to RigNet.

Under the terms of the agreement, RigNet will become a key GX distribution partner for the global energy sector and will offer GX and L-band services to RigNet’s growing customer base.  In connection with the appointment, RigNet has entered into to a significant four-year GX capacity pre-purchase.

To further enhance the strategic value of the partnership, Inmarsat has agreed to sell to RigNet its retail energy operations, currently managed within the Inmarsat Solutions Enterprise business unit, for a total consideration of USD 25 million.  The sale will include Inmarsat’s microwave and WiMAX networks in the US Gulf of Mexico serving drillers, producers and energy vessel owners; its VSAT interests in Russia, the UK, the US and Canada, its telecommunications systems integration business operating worldwide, and its retail L-band energy satcoms business. In 2012, the operations subject to the sale had total revenues of USD 81 million. The overall transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to close during or before the first quarter 2014.

RigNet, based in Houston, Texas, provides managed remote communication services in over 30 countries on six continents, covering over 1,100 oil and gas-related sites ranging from drilling rigs to production facilities and energy vessels.

Rupert Pearce, Inmarsat’s CEO, says “We are excited about this partnership as it enhances the strategic positioning of both companies as we seek to address the communications needs of the global energy sector together. RigNet is the perfect partner for Inmarsat, supporting a large customer base of oil and gas VSAT customers, whom we expect to be at the forefront of the transition to GX services. We also welcome the opportunity to work with RigNet’s management team with its extensive knowledge of VSAT operations and customers. This partnership prepares the way for a fast and successful take up of GX services in the global energy sector.’’

Mark Slaughter, RigNet’s chief executive officer and president, said, “We are delighted to enter into this strategic partnership with Inmarsat.  As the two companies came together for discussions over a number of months – with RigNet evaluating high-throughput satellite providers and Inmarsat seeking a strong distribution channel into the energy market for its GX offering – it quickly became clear that this deal represented the best path forward for both companies.”

“With the purchase of Inmarsat’s energy broadband business and the addition of GX to our transport options, we will broaden and deepen our capabilities to serve the oil and gas industry across the life of the field from drilling through production,” Slaughter added.  “This deal will enhance our services portfolio with world-class additions.  The highly-skilled staff that comes with the business will expand our team at an opportune time in the energy cycle.  Altogether, RigNet’s extensive product and services portfolio tailored for the oil and gas industry, coupled with the unprecedented connectivity capabilities of Inmarsat’s GX network, sets the stage for a step change in managed remote communications services to the oil and gas industry.”