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March 15, 2010

NearEarth makes satellite predictions

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by Rapid TV News

Website: Rapid TV News

The giant Satellite 2010 conflab opened today in Washington DC, and delegates were given some sound advice from the analysts at specialist consultancy NearEarth.

NearEarth predicted their Top 10 expectations for the year ahead.

Top of the list concerns satellite phone operator Iridium’s fresh financing.

Iridium is looking for another $2.7bn to further develop its fleet. NearEarth is optimistic.

Number 2 is the low-cost launch scheme from SpaceX, and its planned IPO for the much delayed Falcon 9 project.

NearEarth remains bullish especially if there can be two or three successful Falcon flights over the next 9-12 months.

Number 3 is Intelsat’s new IPO.

Satellite operator Intelsat is seen by NearEarth to be planning a relatively near-term IPO to allow its private-equity investors a nice cash exit.

Number 4 is the exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Sea Launch. NearEarth says a re-emergence with fresh financing is on the cards, and the satellite industry wants the extra flexibility Sea Launch would provide.

Number 5 is sat-phone/data company TerreStar and a bankrupt operation called DBSD satellite. NearEarth is predicting a “no brainer” merger, and then progress.

Number 6, and not to be confused with Number 5, is SkyTerra, and whether it will link with Inmarsat.

“An eventual merger of Inmarsat and SkyTerra also makes great sense for many of the same reasons and with Harbinger holding major stakes in both, perhaps an inevitability (assuming regulatory hurdles can be met),” says NearEarth.

Of the remaining four predictions the one that most readers will be interested in is Liberty Media and its relationship with Sirius-XM.

“We are just not sure the public equity markets will provide substantial new capital to satellite radio given past volatility and a very cloudy competitive landscape driven by the increasing availability of mobile broadband services.

“Still, subscriber growth has been impressive despite declining car sales and profitability has improved.

“Perhaps this operational strength is sufficient to attract a major media company like Liberty Media to acquire the business and make some long term investments to take it to the next level,” suggests NearEarth.

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