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Viasat announces $222m RigNet acquisition

Global communications company unveils plans to expand and diversify commercial connectivity portfolio, with purchase of intelligent networking solutions firm to add complementary technology

Looking to further accelerate its strategy to provide high-quality, ubiquitous, affordable broadband connectivity and communications to the hardest-to-reach locations around the globe, Viasat has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire secure, intelligent networking solutions and specialised applications developer RigNet.

With over 650 employees, RigNet provides premier, global end-to-end, secure managed communications service and installation capabilities, along with digital transformation solutions. The company boasts that it has a strong global support infrastructure and operations foundation with more than 50% of its employees overseas.

RigNet’s international presence is said to align with Viasat’s expanding global operations, and the transaction – with an enterprise value of approximately $222m – would give Viasat direct access to over 650 customers and expand and diversify Viasat’s commercial connectivity portfolio, providing Viasat an opportunity to enter adjacent global markets in industries such as energy, shipping, maritime, mining and additional enterprises.

For example, the Viasat insists that by combining gains in bandwidth efficiencies expected from the impending ViaSat-3 constellation and RigNet’s portfolio of services, Viasat will become a leading vertically integrated energy communications provider with deep domain and customer expertise.

In addition, the acquisition is seen as giving Viasat access to complementary core technology and services, including RigNet’s digital transformation toolset, which includes its end-to-end managed communications and connectivity service capabilities, such as SD-WAN; the Cyphre cyber security product-line; its applications and industrial internet of things (IIoT) offering; and the Intelie Live real-time machine learning and AI analytics platform. Viasat expects to leverage and combine RigNet’s digital transformation solutions, global enterprise experience, support infrastructure and back office systems to expand into new global services.

“With the acquisition of RigNet, we are accelerating the diversification of our connectivity portfolio and establishing a global foundation for expansion of our remote enterprise service offerings,” said Rick Baldridge, Viasat’s president and CEO commenting on the deal.

“RigNet’s successful track record, global footprint, deep customer relationships and emerging technology expertise in areas such as machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) make this transaction an ideal fit as we launch our integrated global broadband platform,” he said. “The transaction is accretive to cashflow, and is expected to improve our leverage position as well as offer multiple opportunities for expansion and performance upside beyond RigNet’s robust energy services business.”

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On completion of the deal, Viasat intends to incorporate RigNet into its Global Enterprise and Mobility business unit, led by Jimmy Dodd, to provide further complementary capabilities and support synergies to Viasat’s existing mobility businesses.

The RigNet team operates from its headquarters in Houston, Texas; management is expected to stay on to provide leadership, in-depth industry knowledge and customer relationship support.

“There is a powerful alignment between RigNet and Viasat given our shared mission to provide fast, reliable coverage, anywhere customers require it,” added president and CEO Steven Pickett.

“We have broad experience integrating broadband connectivity and networking capabilities in the most challenging environments – gained from our global deployment of more than 1,200 onshore and offshore sites and 11,000 industrial internet of things sites.

“This combination also represents an outstanding opportunity for us to accelerate both the investment in and the adoption of our digital transformation solutions more rapidly outside of our core oil and gas vertical. Our customers are demanding more enhanced communications solutions, and joining forces with Viasat – a recognised leader in satellite broadband connectivity – will enable us to serve them better.”

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