Viasat acquires RigNet, gains AI, machine learning capabilities

Viasat acquires RigNet, gains AI, machine learning capabilities

Business news |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

Viasat Inc., has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire RigNet, Inc., a leading provider of ultra-secure, intelligent networking solutions and specialized applications, that will help to further accelerate Viasat’s strategy to provide high-quality, ubiquitous, affordable broadband connectivity and communications to the hardest-to-reach locations around the globe. RigNet provides premier, global end-to-end, secure managed communications service and installation capabilities, along with digital transformation products including AI analytics and real-time machine learning, which will enable Viasat to quickly expand into new adjacent industries, including: energy, shipping, maritime, mining and additional enterprises.

Rick Baldridge, Viasat’s president and CEO commented, “With the acquisition of RigNet, we are accelerating the diversification of our connectivity portfolio and establishing a global foundation for expansion of our remote enterprise service offerings. RigNet’s successful track record, global footprint, deep customer relationships and emerging technology expertise in areas like machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) make this transaction an ideal fit as we launch our integrated global broadband platform. The transaction is accretive to cashflow, and is expected to improve our leverage position as well as offer multiple opportunities for expansion and performance upside beyond RigNet’s robust energy services business.”

The all-stock acquisition values RigNet at an enterprise value of approximately $222 million based on Viasat’s share price as of the date of the agreement and RigNet’s net debt at September 30, 2020.

“There is a powerful alignment between RigNet and Viasat given our shared mission to provide fast, reliable coverage, anywhere customers require it,” said Steven Pickett, president and CEO, RigNet. “We have broad experience integrating broadband connectivity and networking capabilities in the most challenging environments — gained from our global deployment of more than 1,200 onshore and offshore sites and 11,000 Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sites. This combination also represents an outstanding opportunity for us to accelerate both the investment in and the adoption of our digital transformation solutions more rapidly outside of our core oil and gas vertical. Our customers are demanding more enhanced communications, and joining forces with Viasat — a recognized leader in satellite broadband connectivity — will enable us to serve them better.”

Acquiring RigNet will give Viasat direct access to over 650 customers and expand and diversify Viasat’s commercial connectivity portfolio, providing Viasat an opportunity to more quickly enter adjacent industries. For example, by combining the strong gains in bandwidth efficiencies expected from the impending ViaSat-3 constellation and RigNet’s portfolio of services, Viasat will become a leading vertically-integrated energy communications provider with deep domain and customer expertise.

RigNet will give Viasat access to complementary core technology and services, including RigNet’s digital transformation toolset, which includes its end-to-end managed communications and connectivity service capabilities, like SD-WAN; the Cyphre™ cybersecurity product-line; its large-scale applications and IIoT offering; and the Intelie Live™ real-time machine learning and AI analytics platform. Viasat expects to leverage and combine RigNet’s digital transformation systems, global enterprise experience, support infrastructure and back office systems to expand into new global services.

With over 650 employees, RigNet has a strong global support infrastructure and operations foundation with more than 50% of its employees overseas. RigNet’s international presence aligns with Viasat’s expanding global operations, enabling Viasat to find additional value and business complements for its ViaSat-3 globalization efforts.

Viasat intends to incorporate RigNet into its Global Enterprise and Mobility business unit, led by President Jimmy Dodd, which will provide further complementary capabilities and support synergies to Viasat’s existing mobility businesses. The RigNet team operates from its headquarters in Houston, Texas. Management is expected to stay on to provide leadership, in-depth industry knowledge and customer relationship support


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