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U.K. Private Equity Firm Buys Controlling Stake in Intelsat

BC Partners, a European private equity firm, is buying a controlling stake in Intelsat for $4.6 billion (3.4 billion euros), the companies announced.

The deal announced Tuesday will give funds advised by BC Partners a 76% stake in Bermuda-based Intelsat, which operates 51 satellites used by cable companies, broadcast networks and governments for distributing video programming.

BC Partners outbid Liberty Media Holding and EchoStar Communications for the stake, The Wall Street Journal reported.

BC Partners said it would pay $4.6 billion (3.4 billion euros) cash to acquire the stake from Intelsat management and funds advised by Apax Partners, Apollo Management, Madison Dearborn Partners and Permira. Those funds and management will continue to hold a 24% stake, the companies said.

BC Partners also takes on 76% of the company's approximately $11.4 billion (8.5 billion euros) of debt. In addition, the transaction will load on another $3.85 billion (2.87 billion euros) in debt.

"This transaction highlights the significant value that Intelsat has created for its shareholders and the tremendous opportunities the business and employees will enjoy going forward," said Intelsat CEO Dave McGlade, who is expected to continue in that role.

Intelsat was created in 1964 through a partnership of 147 nations and then privatized in 2001.