Jsat, Sky Perfect ready for union

World Brief

Satellite platform Sky Perfect Communications and communications satellite operator Jsat will merge in April under a holding company.

The merger, to be effected through a stock swap, was approved by both companies’ boards on Thursday.

Sky Perfect prexy Masao Nito will become prexy of the holding company while Jsat director Masanori Akiyama will become chairman. The holding company will take the place of Sky Perfect and Jsat on the Tokyo Stock Exchange first section on April 2.

At the press conference announcing the merger, Nito said the company intends to launch 10 HD channels by summer 2008, eventually expanding to 30.

By 2011, when Japan switches to digital broadcasting, the merged entity plans to have between 7 million and 8 million subs and be earning ¥200 billion ($1.7 billion) to $2.5 billion annually, Nito said.

Sky Perfect has been struggling to raise sub numbers beyond the current 4.18 million, while Jsat took a big profit hit after a satellite failure last summer.

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