The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced a probe into satellite company Viasat’s proposed $7.3 billion acquisition of Inmarsat, increasing scrutiny on the deal which is also being investigated by the European Commission (EC).

In a statement, the CMA outlined plans to commence its initial investigation tomorrow (10 August), with a decision on whether to proceed to a deeper phase two probe set for 5 October.

It invited related parties to comment on the deal weeks ago, with a deadline for submissions set for 15 August.

The watchdog stated it is deciding whether the satellite tie-up could “result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the UK for goods and services”.

US-based Viasat struck the deal to acquire its UK rival in November 2021, outlining aims to create a global market leader with a fleet of 19 operating satellites and an additional ten spacecraft due for launch over the next three years.

In terms of the UK, Viasat said it wanted to build on Inmarsat’s existing presence and work with the government to create new space capabilities, technologies and jobs.

The deal has however faced opposition, with the EC investigating at the request of 13 member states.

Elon Musk’s rival SpaceX also argued to US regulator the Federal Communications Commission that Viasat should not be permitted to use Inmarsat’s ground terminals due to alleged spectrum violations.

Viasat’s proposed acquisition of Inmarsat is one of two major satellite mergers in the works, with Eutelsat and OneWeb agreeing a deal to combine their businesses last month.