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Harbinger suspends Inmarsat talks, still wants deal

Date: Monday, July 21, 2008
Author: Mark Potter, Reuters

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U.S. hedge fund Harbinger remains interested in buying British satellite communications firm Inmarsat (ISA.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), but is suspending talks for now because of the lengthy regulatory process involved, it said on Monday.

"Harbinger remains interested in acquiring control of Inmarsat and is therefore actively considering whether to pursue the relevant regulatory and competition approvals in order to be able to make an offer for Inmarsat in the future," the group, which already owns 28 percent of Inmarsat, said in a statement.

"Assuming there is an acceptable conclusion to the regulatory approval process Harbinger would intend to re-enter into discussions with the board of Inmarsat regarding the terms of an offer and endeavor to seek a recommendation from the Inmarsat board at that time."

Harbinger said it could take up to 18 months to win regulatory approval for a bid for Inmarsat.

Inmarsat said in a statement that "Harbinger has neither made an offer for the company nor indicated a potential offer price, and the board of Inmarsat has therefore concluded that there is no merit in continuing discussions at this time."

"The board remains focused on delivering value to shareholders as a whole and open to any future proposals or cooperation with Harbinger, which will continue to be evaluated in this context," it added.

Inmarsat shares, which leapt on news of the takeover talks with Harbinger on July 7, closed at 512.5 pence on Friday, valuing the business at about 2.3 billion pounds ($4.6 billion).