European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co’s (EADS) Astrium space unit agreed to buy Vizada from Apax Partners LLP for US$960 million to add satellite-based mobile communications services and bolster its services businesses.
Vizada provides communications for the maritime, aerospace and defense industries, EADS said in a statement yesterday. Customers also include the US government, EADS said.
EADS has stepped up the pace of acquisitions this year as it puts its 11 billion euros (US$15.8 billion) in cash to add services operations and expand in North America. The purchase of Vizada is EADS’s biggest since it bought out BAE Systems PLC’s stake in planemaker Airbus SAS in 2006, and the fourth transaction this year involving a services company.
“The growing demand for maritime services is a perfect cornerstone for Astrium to develop its commercial satellite communications,” EADS said in the statement. “This also offers multiple development potential in the various sub-sectors, such as commercial fishing, leisure and military.”
EADS CEO Louis Gallois has identified services and security businesses as two areas to find growth as governments cut spending on military programs. EADS aims to reduce dependence on its Airbus planemaking unit to less than half of total revenue and has been working to expand export sales outside of commercial aircraft as it competes with military contractors that have US government backing.
EADS completed the acquisition of Vector Aerospace Corp, based in Canada, on June 30 to expand in aviation repair and overhaul services. On July 27, Airbus offered to buy Danish aviation supplier Satair A/S for about US$504 million in cash to add a maintenance and components company. That followed the July 26 accord to acquire US-based Metron Aviation to help build up a new unit focusing on air-traffic management.