A US congressional committee is to meet in late January to consider proposed limitations on Lockheed Martin's planned acquisition of satellite service provider Comsat. The committee will attempt to resolve conflicts between versions of Intelsat privatisation legislation passed by the US House of Representatives and the US Senate.

Lockheed Martin's $2.7 billion purchase of Comsat - the US agent in the Intelsat global communications satellite consortium, in which it holds a 20% stake - is in two stages. In the first, it acquired a 49% stake - the maximum permitted - and awaits legislation to allow it to take the rest.

The House last month approved a Bill which would allow Lockheed Martin to complete the acquisition, while enhancing the ability of Comsat's competitors to become investors in - and part-owners of - Intelsat. The Senate, however, passed a measure in July clearing a Lockheed Martin takeover without strings attached. The White House objects to the House version, claiming it usurps presidential control over foreign policy and "is at odds with the realities of today's global telecoms market". A compromise global satellite communications Bill will be finalised in January.

Source: Flight International