Foreign Firms Revise Bids to Buy Israeli Satellite Operator Spacecom

The four or five bidders include Spain’s Hispasat and Hong Kong’s Asia Sat, for the company currently worth $412 million.

The bidding process for the sale of satellite operator Space Communication Ltd. gained pace late last week when Spain’s Hispasat and Hong Kong’s Asia Satellite Telecommunications revised their bids.

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Space Communication, also known as Spacecom, is controlled by Shaul Elovitch’s Eurocom group and trades on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. A person close to Eurocom said there were four or five revised bids but gave no details.

The sale is being handled by investment bank J.P. Morgan. Eurocom, which has a 64.5% stake in Spacecom, declined to comment.

Since December, when Elovitch’s plans to sell Spacecom became known, the company’s shares have surged 54% to a market capitalization of 1.44 billion shekels ($412 million), still well below the value Elovitch is seeking. Sources say the bids submitted are between 1.4 billion and 1.6 billion shekels.

British-based Apax Partners recently dropped out of the bidding; the private equity firm apparently balked at the 2-billion-shekel valuation that Eurocom was asking. Intelsat, the world’s largest satellite company, also dropped out.

Spacecom operates the Amos 2, Amos 3 and Amos 5 satellites, which provide broadband satellite communications services mainly to customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The Amos 4’s launch last year has enabled the company to expand into Asia, and the Amos 6 is currently under development. Back orders for the Amos 2, 3 and 4 total $580 million.