09.16.08

Is TerreStar positioning itself for a merger with ICO?

Posted in Financials, ICO/DBSD, TerreStar at 9:04 pm by timfarrar

TerreStar announced today that it has sold its remaining stake of 29.9M shares in Skyterra to Harbinger and other investors for a total of $123M. This will meet TerreStar’s capital needs into 2010, well beyond the delayed launch date for TerreStar’s first satellite in 2Q2009.

We find it particularly interesting that this transaction took place in the week in which ICO’s ongoing lawsuit with Boeing has gone to the jury for a decision. There has been speculation in the past that eventually ICO and TerreStar will merge, to secure a much improved spectrum position, and a key challenge in determining the value of ICO’s business has been the uncertainty in respect of the Boeing lawsuit. ICO faces a deadline of August 2009 to refinance over $750M in convertible bonds, so we wonder if the upcoming resolution of this lawsuit might provide a catalyst to restructure and merge with TerreStar. Certainly TerreStar’s actions in obtaining further funding would help to strengthen its position in any such negotiations.

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