For a measly $22.9 million, Greenhill, a private investment firm, has bought Iridium. You can read a followup to this article here including comments from Iridium.
Probably the only commercial mobile carrier that can reach every part of the planet, Iridium’s LEO satellite cluster has increased its user base from 55,000 subscribers in 2000 to around 300,000 now.
Considering the $5billion it cost Motorola and $25million when it was taken over after its bankruptcy, Iridium has been both a costly exercise in hubris, and a chance to create a global communication network, in the same way that GPS technology has unified positioning.
The agreement will allegedly enable Iridium to “develop its next generation satellite constellation, Iridium Next.”
The cost of development is one thing, deployment, as Motorola painfully found out, is a multi billion gamble prone to commercial challenges which can not be forecast.