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US Regulator Approves Iridium Buyout by Private Equity Group

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The US telecoms regulator, the FCC has approved plans for the private equity group, GHL Acquisition Corp. to buy satellite phone operator, Iridium Holdings.

Last September, GHL Acquisition and Iridium announced that GHL Acquisition would combine with Iridium in a transaction that furthers Iridium's plans to build Iridium NEXT and would result in Iridium becoming a publicly traded company.

"We are pleased that the FCC has approved our transaction," said Scott Bok, CEO of GHL Acquisition. "With all regulatory approvals in hand, GHL Acquisition plans to hold a special meeting of its stockholders to seek approval for the transaction on September 23, 2009. We are enthusiastic about bringing this to a close and are very pleased that Iridium continues to demonstrate why it is a strong investment for our shareholders."

Iridium Holdings is the satellite operator created by Motorola to provide a single global mobile phone service. It was conceived before GSM took off as an international standard and when finally launched, the Iridium network was a financial failure. After filing for bankruptcy just nine months after the commercial launch, the company was taken private for a tiny fraction of the estimated USD6 billion start up costs. Since then, unencumbered by the start up debts, the firm has been a commercial success, although one main military contract was controversial for not being put out to public tender.

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Tags: iridium  satellite  motorola  satellite phone  global mobile  military