By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. company Viasat has won unconditional EU antitrust approval to acquire British satellite rival Inmarsat for $7.3 billion, the European Commission announced on Thursday, adding that the merger would not raise competition concerns.
The companies, which compete with market leaders Panasonic and Intelsat in the market for wi-fi on long-haul flights, said in a statement that they expect the transaction to close by the end of this month.
The Commission opened an investigation into the deal in February, voicing concerns about the companies’ status as close competitors in Europe and globally for the supply of broadband inflight connectivity (IFC) services to commercial airlines.
Viasat owns and operates four geostationary earth orbit satellites while Inmarsat has 15.
The deal has already received the green light from the UK and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, additional reporting by Charlotte Van Campenhout; Editing by Jan Harvey, Kirsten Donovan)