Editor’s comment: M&A in MA

Inflight editor Alexander Preston summarises the latest happenings across IFEC and cabin technology.

It’s a farewell to Boston as APEX EXPO, AIX Americas Boston and IFSA EXPO close shop for another year.
While we had the usual array of customer installs and product announcements, largely around validations and incremental enhancements, the big talk from Boston has been one of consolidation.

Panasonic and Inmarsat gave further details of their strategic partnership, announced pre-show, highlighting their complementary capabilities in the Ka and Ku bands, and their strengths across the whole satellite comms ecosystem. The pair highlighted Air New Zealand’s recent win at the APEX Awards where it won Best Inflight Connectivity Innovation, as an example of the successful relationship already enjoyed.

But the big talking point was the news that digEcor had acquired the IFE business of Rockwell Collins. Although the acquisition will be officially announced in October, when more details will be revealed, the deal is part of an agreement by UTC to sell assets to address European Commission monopoly concerns over its own acquisition of Rockwell Collins, which the EU approved in May. That deal is reportedly valued at US$25 million.

Although the financials of digEcor’s own foray into the acquisition market have not been revealed, gaining the PAVES IFE brand, which will sit along digEcor’s own Glide system, has catapulted the Australian-based company into the higher echelons of the IFE landscape, with about a third of the market share.

It will soon become clear how the market responds to both these deals, and what it really means for customers.


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