The bidding for General Electric's space subsidiary GE Americom is being reportedly led by Luxembourg-based Société Européene des Satellites (SES).

SES will not comment on reports that it has offered $5 billion for Americom, but concedes that North America is the last big gap in its global network following the purchase of stakes in Asiasat, Brazilsat and Scandinavian company NSAB in the past three years.

"We have made no secret of our ambition to create a global satellite network," says SES. "To achieve our aims we evidently need a North American presence."

Other companies which have expressed an interest in Americom include Echostar, Loral Space and Communications, and Intelsat.

Americom meanwhile plans to launch two new satellites - GE1i and GE2i - into geostationary orbits above the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to connect its 15 landmass-based satellites, which serve the USA (12 satellites), Europe and Asia. The new satellites will be launched by International Launch Services.

Source: Flight International