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Inmarsat in $3.3 billion go-private transatlantic deal talks (March 19)

FILE PHOTO: A technician looks at a solar panel on the Inmarsat S-Band/Hellas-Sat 3 satellite in the clean room facilities of the Thales Alenia Space plant in Cannes, France, February 3, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo

(This March 19 story corrects last paragraph to say Panasonic Avionics is headquartered in the United States and is a unit of Japan's Panasonic Corp.)

(Reuters) - Inmarsat Plc said on Tuesday it has received a cash takeover offer from a private equity-led consortium, a deal that would value the British satellite company at about $3.3 billion and take it private.

The consortium, which includes UK-based Apax Partners, U.S.-based Warburg Pincus and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), offered $7.21 per share on Jan. 31 and the proposal remains under discussion, Inmarsat said in a statement.

The $7.21 (543 pence) per share offer is at a premium of about 24 percent to Inmarsat's Tuesday close of 437.8 pence on the London Stock Exchange. The offer price represented a premium of about 47 percent when the proposal was made on Jan. 31.

The company said it is not certain the discussions will lead to a formal offer.

Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board would also be supporting the proposal as part of the consortium, Inmarsat said.

The group is required to make a formal offer by April 16, the FTSE 250 company said.

The offer values Inmarsat at $3.3 billion, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

An external representative for Warburg Pincus declined to comment. Apax and CPPIB did not respond to requests for comment.

Last year U.S. satellite group EchoStar Corp walked away from discussions to buy Inmarsat after it rejected a $3.25 billion (2.46 billion pounds) cash and stock offer.

A takeover of the company could be closely scrutinised by the British government because of the British satellite company's position as a strategic asset.

Founded in 1979, Inmarsat was set up by the International Maritime Organization as a way for ships to stay in communication with shore and make emergency calls.

The company sees a growing opportunity to supply in-flight broadband services to commercial aircraft, having partnered with U.S.-headquartered Panasonic Avionics, a unit of Japan's Panasonic Corp, in September last year.




(Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by David Goodman and Matthew Lewis)