Iridium – New markets, new energy

I seemed to hit a sensitive spot at Iridium with my previous article (Iridium sold on for small change) concerning Greenhill & Co investment of $22.9m in Iridium.

The company was very keen to assure me that Greenhill & Co has invested in, not brought, Iridium. Although it should also be noted that while this is strictly true – an affiliate of Greenhill & Co, GHL Acquisition Corp (GHQ), IS acquiring Iridium.

Having raised $400m from an IPO earlier this year, GHL are providing $100m of cash to Iridium and $360m in the shares of GHL Acquisition Corp. Greenhill’s $22.9m does give them two seats on the board, certainly an influential position to be in.

According to Iridium, having learnt from past mistakes, and with a strong operational record for the last few years, new requirements for machine to machine communications will ensure they maintain growth.

There is some logic in this as there is little desire on the part of the wireless operators to extend their infrastructure into remote areas where three is little chance to get a return on capital investment.

Yet it is precisely these remote areas that suffer from extreme weather and geological activity, and need to be monitored.

Iridium should also have a brighter future with the burgeoning growth in off shore wind farms, wave power and other alternative energy schemes, that require remote diagnostics independent of any fixed connection.

Iridium have a tough challenge ahead of them to deploy a new constellation of satellites, I hope they succeed.