JetBlue to sell LiveTV to Thales

JetBlue Airways has agreed to sell its wholly-owned subsidiary LiveTV to Thales Group for $400 million, subject to regulatory and other approvals which are expected to be completed in mid-2014.

LiveTV is a leading provider of live inflight entertainment and connectivity systems for commercial airlines. In 2013, LiveTV and its partner ViaSat introduced Ka-band satellite-driven onboard connectivity.

“LiveTV has been an important part of building the JetBlue experience,” commented JetBlue president Robin Hayes. "[Its] ability to combine market leadership and drive technological advances has given JetBlue a market advantage in the onboard experience. We now come to the point where LiveTV’s future as a disrupter in the inflight entertainment and data services space is best served by pairing with the right partner. We found that partner in Thales, itself an innovator in the technology space.”

“LiveTV is a great strategic fit for Thales,” confirmed Jean-Bernard Lévy, chairman and CEO Thales. “It will improve our positioning in the high growth business of inflight entertainment and connectivity. Our aim is to offer the highest performance and most competitive and flexible connectivity solution to airlines regardless of their fleet size, aircraft type or route structure.

“Passengers increasingly expect broadband internet services at home, at work and on the move. Airlines want to enable their passengers to have access to this connected environment within the aircraft, allowing them to interact with both social media and professional networks while they travel. Thales will provide solutions that cater to this need,” added Lévy.

“We look forward to joining the Thales Group,” said LiveTV president Glenn Latta. “We have benefited greatly from JetBlue’s leadership and guidance, and we are now positioned to further influence the inflight entertainment, connectivity and data services space, with Thales’ leadership.”

Alongside the deal, JetBlue will enter into long-term agreements for LiveTV to continue providing support for the airline’s live TV and inflight connectivity product, Fly-Fi. “This transaction, once completed, preserves JetBlue’s access to the most innovative inflight entertainment,” emphasised JetBlue CFO Mark Powers. “At the same time, we believe JetBlue will benefit from reduced operating costs and capital expenditures related to running LiveTV as a subsidiary.”

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