Iridium gets FCC green light for buy-out

Mobile satellite operator Iridium is to be acquired by GHL Acquisition Corp following long-awaited approval from the Federal Communications Commission.

For Iridium, the deal means a much-needed €355million funding infusion which will assist in paying down debt and fund its operations.

The transaction, first flagged |in September 2008, will take Iridium public via New York-based GHL, which was launched as a public company in an IPO that raised €284 million earlier this year.

“The FCC’s approval moves Iridium one step closer to concluding this transaction and to strengthening our business for the future,” said Iridium CEO Matt Desch, in a statement. He added that the move helped advance the satellite company’s plans to build its €1.91 billion next-gen satellite constellation, Iridium Next.

Iridium Next will be partly funded by the US Air Force, NASA and several environmental groups competing to pay for space on the satellites to track aircraft, explore space and monitor climate change.

Once the transaction closes, the two companies have agreed that about 26.8 million warrants issued to investors by GHL Acquisition will be repurchased or restructured to reduce the number of fully diluted GHL Acquisition shares outstanding after the Iridium deal.

GHL shareholders are set to vote on the deal Sept. 23.