Comtech Telecommunications Corp. and Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. jointly announced on 29 January 2020 that Comtech has agreed to acquire Gilat in a cash and stock transaction for $10.25 per Gilat ordinary share of which 70% will be paid in cash and 30% in Comtech common stock, resulting in an enterprise value of approximately $532.5 million. Founded in 1987 with its headquarters in Israel, Gilat is a worldwide leader in satellite networking technology, solutions and services with market leading positions in the satellite ground station and in-flight connectivity solutions markets and deep expertise in operating large network infrastructures.
Based on Comtech’s fiscal year 2019 actual results and Gilat’s trailing twelve-month results through 30 June 2019, on a pro-forma basis, Comtech would have reported approximately $926.1 million of revenue with Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $130.2 million (see definition and reconciliation to GAAP financial measures in the table below). The combined companies would employ approximately 3,000 people and offer best-in-class satellite technology, public safety and location technology and secure wireless solutions to commercial and government customers around the world.
Fred Kornberg, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Comtech, said, “I am excited to have reached this agreement with Gilat and believe this combination is beneficial to the stakeholders of both companies. The acquisition better positions Comtech to take advantage of key marketplace trends, particularly the growing demand for satellite connectivity and the enormous long-term opportunity set that is emerging in the secure wireless communications market. I believe that the combination of accelerating satellite connectivity demand and the increasing availability of low-cost satellite bandwidth, makes this a perfect time to unify Comtech and Gilat’s solutions and offer our combined customers best-in-class platform-agnostic satellite ground station technologies. Gilat is an exceptional business that has developed extraordinary technology and has a well-respected product portfolio supported by strong research and development capabilities. I welcome Gilat’s entire talented workforce to the Comtech family.”
Dov Baharav, Chairman of the Board of Gilat, said, “The Gilat Board of Directors and management believe this highly strategic combination is compelling. It is an excellent outcome for our shareholders who receive both cash and an equity interest in a strong company with a broader range of products and the benefits of combined expertise and resources that is well positioned to create future value against a highly favorable industry backdrop. I have long admired Comtech’s commitment to technology leadership and I firmly believe that employees will have expanded opportunities for career development. No doubt, the future will be very bright for Comtech and Gilat and all of our stakeholders.”
Key Strategic Benefits for Comtech Include:
- Drives global market access by creating a world leader with combined pro-forma sales approaching nearly $1.0 billion annually;
- Strengthens Comtech’s position as a leading supplier of advanced communication solutions, uniquely capable of servicing the expanding need for ground infrastructure to support both existing and emerging satellite networks;
- Expands Comtech’s product portfolio with highly complementary technologies, including Gilat’s high-performance TDMA-based satellite modems and its next generation solid-state amplifiers;
- Broadens leadership position in the rapidly growing in-flight connectivity and cellular backhaul markets which are expected to expand given the availability of lower-cost bandwidth and the adoption of satellite technologies into the 5G cellular backhaul ecosystem;
- Bolsters world-class research and development capabilities, enabling Comtech to offer customers more complete end-to-end technology solutions;
- Enhances ability to accelerate shareholder value creation by contributing to Comtech’s ongoing strategy to move toward higher margin solutions and by increasing customer diversification geographically and by market; and
- Potentially offers increased liquidity for existing and new Comtech shareholders, as Comtech plans to pursue a dual listing on the Nasdaq and Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (“TASE”) to become effective upon the closing of the transaction.
Acquisition Expected to be Cash Accretive and Have Minimal Integration Risks
Excluding the impact of acquisition plan costs (including transaction expenses) and with conservative anticipated synergies of only $2.0 million derived from the elimination of Gilat’s public company costs, the acquisition of Gilat is expected to be cash accretive to Comtech during the first twelve months post-closing. Comtech believes that with careful planning and execution, it can capitalize on opportunities to achieve both sales growth and further efficiencies during the second-year post-closing.
Both companies’ talented global workforces are expected to remain in place and focus intently on meeting all customer commitments and expectations, including supporting all existing products, services and agreements. The transaction enlarges Comtech’s global market footprint with a significant physical presence in key international markets. This increased presence addresses a growing need for local touch points that can offer integrated secure connectivity solutions including public safety and location solutions. At the same time, Gilat will gain access to Comtech’s strong relationships with the U.S. government, allowing expanded distribution of Gilat’s products and solutions to the U.S. government. As such, Comtech believes the transaction carries minimal integration risk while creating numerous opportunities for potential long-term revenue and efficiency synergies going forward.
Comtech will continue to emphasize capturing growth opportunities from favorable market trends, including: expected increased demand for solutions to provide high speed in-flight satellite connectivity; the adoption of new satellite ground station technologies into the 5G cellular backhaul eco-system; and the expected need for equipment and network upgrades to accommodate an anticipated increase in satellite capacity when new Very High Throughput Satellites (“VHTS”) and high capacity Medium Earth Orbit (“MEO”) and Low Earth Orbit (“LEO”) satellite constellations are launched and fully operational. Together with its previously announced pending acquisition of UHP Networks, Comtech believes it will be uniquely positioned to take advantage of these important trends.
Gilat announced on 19 November 2019 that it expects to achieve sales of between $260.0 million and $270.0 million with Adjusted EBITDA ranging from $38.0 million to $42.0 million for its fiscal year ended 31 December 2019. Comtech announced on 4 December 2019 that it expects to achieve sales of between $712.0 million and $732.0 million with Adjusted EBITDA ranging from $99.0 million to $103.0 million for its fiscal year ending 31 July 2020. Neither Comtech nor Gilat is revising their previously announced respective fiscal year financial outlook.
In light of the agreement between Comtech and Gilat, Gilat has cancelled its fourth quarter and fiscal 2019 year-end conference call and webcast previously scheduled for 19 February 2020. Once the transaction closes, Comtech will provide combined revenue, Adjusted EBITDA and diluted earnings per share guidance in a future announcement.
Leadership and Business Structure
Fred Kornberg, Comtech’s Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) will continue in his role as CEO of the combined company. Michael Porcelain, Comtech’s Chief Operating Officer, who was promoted and named President of Comtech earlier on 29 January 2020, will work hand-in-hand with both Comtech and Gilat employees to maximize the potential of the combined company. Michael Bondi will continue in his role as Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) of the combined company. Comtech will continue to maintain its headquarters in Melville, New York.
Post-closing of the transaction, Gilat will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Comtech and will maintain its well renowned and highly regarded brand. Gilat will continue to maintain its corporate headquarters and research and development facility in Petah Tikva, Israel under the leadership of Yona Ovadia, Gilat’s CEO and Adi Sfadia, Gilat’s CFO. Mr. Sfadia will also be assuming the role of Gilat’s Chief Integration Officer, helping to plan a smooth acquisition and to maximize shareholder value.
No Comtech or Gilat facility locations are expected to be closed as a result of the transaction and each key business area is expected to continue to be led by its respective existing proven leadership teams after the transaction closes.