Private equity bought out of Eutelsat

Abertis, the Spanish airports-to-motorways company, has bought a 32% stake in Eutelsat, the world’s third largest satellite player, for €1.07bn (US$1.42bn).

At €15.5 per share, Abertis Telecom a subsidiary of Abertis, has agreed to buy out Texas Pacific Group, Cinven, Spectrum, and Goldman Sachs, making the Spanish company the satellite operator’s largest shareholder.

French private equity house Eurazeo is not a seller. It owns a 25.48% stake in Eutelsat and has in the past wanted to force a merger between Eutelsat and Spain’s Hispasat. Eutelsat is also Hispasat’s biggest shareholder with a 27.69% stake.

Abertis plans to finance the deal with a syndicated bridge loan, which is not expected to affect Abertis’s Single A credit ratings from Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.

Eutelsat has 23 geo-stationary earth-orbit satellites, and controls 30% of the European market and 13% of the global market for satellite communications, including TV and radio.

For the fiscal year ending June 2006, the company’s Ebitda came to €617m on revenues of €791m.