After receiving regulatory approvals, satellite operator SES S.A. exercised its option to acquire the remaining shares and warrants of O3b Networks. SES will pay $730 million to increase its ownership from 49.1 percent to 100 percent, with the transaction expected to close on August 1.
O3b Networks operates a constellation of 12 satellites in equatorial, medium earth orbit (MEO) that provides communications services to land and ship-based customers.
O3b was founded in 2007 by Greg Wyler — now the driving force behind the OneWeb LEO constellation — who had a vision to provide high speed internet access to the "other 3 billion" (O3b) people who did not have access and largely lived between ±45 degrees latitude.
With their satellites in MEO (8,062 km above the Earth), O3b guarantees latencies will be below 150 ms, saying they are "on par with a long haul fiber transmission."
Allen & Company, Google, HSBC and Liberty Global were early investors in O3b, in 2008. SES followed, in 2009, and negotiated the option to buy out the other investors. Based in Luxembourg, SES bills itself as "the world-leading satellite operator," with more than 50 geostationary (GEO) satellites.
Padraig McCarthy, the CFO of SES said, “The acquisition of O3b — the fastest growing satellite network — significantly enhances SES’s long-term growth profile, with the constellation expected to generate annualized revenues of between $32 million and $36 million per satellite at steady-state. Looking forward, both SES and O3b will benefit from the strong synergies and strategic fit across both businesses.”