Satellite equipment maker ViaSat buying WildBlue

Oct 01, 2009 By DEBORAH YAO , AP Business Writer

(AP) -- ViaSat Inc. is acquiring WildBlue Communications Inc., a provider of high-speed Internet access via satellite, for $568 million in cash and stock, the companies said Thursday.

Privately held WildBlue, in which Liberty Media Corp. holds a 37 percent stake, will become an operating subsidiary of ViaSat, which makes satellite communications equipment for defense and consumer markets.

Carlsbad, Calif.-based ViaSat plans to buy WildBlue for $443 million in cash and $125 million in new common stock. Liberty Media, controlled by media mogul John Malone, will appoint a representative to ViaSat's board. Mark Carleton, senior vice president at Liberty, is WildBlue's chairman.

ViaSat is planning to launch a satellite in the first quarter of 2011 that will enable WildBlue to offer speeds of 2 Megabits per second to 8 Megabits per second - closer to those offered by cable operators. Currently, WildBlue's speeds top out at a DSL-like 1.5 Mbps.

ViaSat plans to hold prices essentially the same for consumers, which range from $39.95 to $79.95 a month for speeds of 512 kilobits per second to 1.5 Mbps.

WildBlue, based in Denver, serves 400,000 subscribers of which around 90 percent have dial-up Internet access as their only alternative. The company holds 44 percent of the U.S. satellite ISP market.

The higher speeds will enable easier downloads of videos and other multimedia for WildBlue's customers. WildBlue's service is resold by DirecTV Group Inc., Dish Network Corp., AT&T Inc. and the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative.

The purchase marks the first time ViaSat will be dealing directly with consumers. The deal, expected to close by April, should boost ViaSat's earnings before one-time items.

WildBlue has struggled with having enough capacity to add more customers, and ViaSat's new satellite should provide the bandwidth needed to grow.

Rival satellite ISP HughesNet, a unit of Hughes Communications Inc., also offers higher speeds, but ViaSat's new satellite should make WildBlue more competitive.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Sony's PlayStation back online after Christmas hack

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

DirecTV, Liberty Media detail spinoff plans

May 04, 2009

(AP) -- DirecTV Group Inc., the nation's largest satellite TV provider, said Monday it will be combined with the entertainment unit of Liberty Media Corp. and spun off into a separately traded company.

Recommended for you

Sony's PlayStation 'gradually coming back'

22 hours ago

Sony was still struggling Saturday to fully restore its online PlayStation system, three days after the Christmas day hack that also hit Microsoft's Xbox, reporting that services were "gradually coming back."

Uber broke Indian financial rules: central bank chief

22 hours ago

India's central bank chief lashed out at Uber, already under fire over the alleged rape of a passenger, saying the US taxi-hailing firm violated the country's financial regulations by using an overseas payment ...

Taxi app Uber defies ban in Spain

Dec 26, 2014

Smartphone car-ride service Uber vowed Friday to keep operating in Spain despite a ban following a lawsuit by taxi drivers and said it would fight the case in court.

Sony film mess reflects gadgets-entertainment gap

Dec 26, 2014

Sony's iconic gadgetry and the star appeal of Hollywood may have appeared to be a perfect match when the electronics giant bought Columbia Pictures in 1989. A quarter century later, it's apparent that Sony ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.