Telesat Holdings Is Said to Weigh Takeover Offers From EchoStar, Carlyle

Telesat Holdings Inc., the Canadian satellite company, is weighing takeover offers from EchoStar Corp. (SATS) and Carlyle Group, and may decide on a possible sale in the coming days, said people with knowledge of the matter.

Telesat also may consider a special dividend as an alternative to a sale if the bids don’t meet expectations, said one of the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. Blackstone Group LP (BX) dropped out of a bidding group that includes KKR & Co., the people said.

Telesat, co-owned by Loral Space & Communications Inc. (LORL) and Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board, is seeking at least $6 billion, one person said this month. Other companies besides Carlyle, the Washington-based private-equity firm, and EchoStar may have also submitted bids.

A purchase of Ottawa-based Telesat would build on other satellite acquisitions by EchoStar Chairman Charlie Ergen this year. EchoStar agreed to buy Hughes Communications Inc. (HUGH) for $2 billion including debt in February. Earlier that month, Dish Network Corp. (DISH), where Ergen is also chairman, agreed to buy DBSD North America Inc. for about $1 billion.

‘Ergen Style’

“We don’t know the price yet, but in typical Ergen style, I imagine he’ll get a good price for it,” said Amy Yong, an analyst with Macquarie Capital in New York, who has an “outperform” rating on Englewood, Colorado-based EchoStar.

A spokeswoman for New York-based Loral and a Telesat spokesman declined to comment.

Loral fell 30 cents to $77.55 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares have climbed 1.4 percent in 2011. EchoStar rose 35 cents to $37.84 to push this year’s advance to 52 percent.

Telesat, the world’s fourth-largest satellite company, owns 12 operational satellites and has 3 under construction, according to the company. Its largest customer is BCE Inc. (BCE), Canada’s biggest provider of mobile phone, Internet and satellite TV services.

The company said Nov. 4 that it was reviewing its strategic options, including a possible initial public offering. It reported 2010 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of C$625 million.

To contact the reporters on this story: Serena Saitto in New York at ssaitto@bloomberg.net; Jeffrey McCracken in New York at jmccracken3@bloomberg.net; Cristina Alesci in New York at calesci2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jennifer Sondag at jsondag@bloomberg.net

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