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Private equity signals interest in Optus satellites

$AU2 billion price tag mooted for fleet of tough old birds

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Reports are emerging that Optus' satellite division, for sale if the price is right, is being eyed by a brace of private equity firms and a French telco.

Back in March 2013, Optus appointed Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse to conduct a strategic review of the satellite business, sparking speculation that the division would be offered for sale. At the time, the carrier told the Australian Financial Review that all options remained open: retaining the business, floating it separately, or finding a buyer.

Now, Reuters is saying that “people familiar with the matter” have nominated private equity outfits KKR and Carlyle Group as being interested in the business, along with France's Eutelsat Communications.

Reuters says Optus' parent company SingTel values the operation at $AU2 billion. Financial information has been sent to potential bidders, Reuters states.

The satellite division generated $AU338 million in the year to March 31, 2013. Its customers include the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Foxtel, and the Department of Defence.

According to Bloomberg, a sale would fund planned acquisitions by SingTel. ®

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