Space Business Review - April 2014

Author:Mr Dara Panahy and Bijan Ganji
Profession:Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
 
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A monthly round-up of space industry developments for the information of our clients and friends.

ORBITAL AND ATK TO MERGE

On April 29, Orbital Sciences Corporation (Orbital) announced that it entered into a definitive agreement with Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) whereby Orbital will combine with ATK's Aerospace and Defense Groups to create a $4.5b, 13,000 employee space, defense and aviation systems developer and manufacturer. The transaction, valued at approximately $5b, will be carried out as a tax-free stock-for-stock merger and will include the spin-off of ATK's Sporting Group, which focuses on commercial sporting equipment, to its shareholders. The new company will be called Orbital ATK, Inc. and will serve both U.S. and international markets for space launch vehicles, propulsion systems, tactical missiles and satellites and space systems, among other products. Analysts have noted that the merger, which advances Orbital's desire to increase vertical integration across its product lines, will produce cost synergies due to the fact that ATK is Orbital's largest supplier. Analysts also suggest that the complementary nature of Orbital's and ATK's product lines will enable the new company to expand its product offerings and enhance its market position.

VIASAT AWARDED $283M IN PATENT SUIT

On April 24, ViaSat Inc. (ViaSat) announced that a federal court jury awarded the company $283m in damages in its patent infringement and breach of contract lawsuit against Space Systems/Loral, LLC (SSL) related to the use by SSL of ViaSat intellectual property, including technology developed for the 100+ Gbps ViaSat-1 satellite. Loral Space and Communications Inc., which is responsible for defense of the lawsuit, has announced that it intends to appeal the decision.

HUGHES AND EUTELSAT CAPACITY DEAL

On April 23, Eutelsat do Brasil, an affiliate of Eutelsat Communications S.A., announced that it concluded a 15-year contract with Hughes Network Systems do Brasil (Hughes), a subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation, for all of the Ka-band capacity with coverage of Brazil aboard the EUTELSAT 65 West A satellite scheduled for launch in early 2016. Hughes intends to use the capacity to provide mass market broadband services to Brazilian consumers and businesses that are unserved or underserved by terrestrial networks.

APRIL SATELLITE ORDERS

April 16 - Space Systems/Loral, LLC (SSL) announced...

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