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SES to lift stake in O3b Networks

Luxembourg'sSES SA said April 29that it agreed to boost its holding in satellite services provider to 50.5% from49.1%, thus taking a majority stake in the latter.

SES will pay $20 million for the transaction, which willbring its total investments in O3b to $323 million. The deal is expected to be completedin the second half of 2016, subject to regulatory approvals.

O3b's board is now considering an IPO for the remaining49.5% stake in the company. SES has an option to acquire the holding for $710million plus an interest charge, based on market rates.

Othershareholders,including Alphabet Inc.-ownedGoogle Inc. andLiberty Global Inc.,are holding a put option on their shares in O3b, effective Oct. 1, 2017. Thisis subject to O3b not having launched an IPO.

O3b currently operates 12 satellites that provide broadbandInternet services. It is aiming to launch four more satellites in the firsthalf of 2018 and another four in the second half of 2019.