Satellite operator Intelsat has ditched plans to launch an initial public share offering in favour of seeking an outright buyer for the company. The Bermuda-based operator has hired Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley to organise discussions with potential suitors for its 27-satellite network, the value of which has estimated at USD1 billion. Although Intelsat is known to be carrying a debt burden of around USD2.3 billion, its steady cashflow and profitability will more than likely arouse the interest of a raft of private equity firms that have been circling the troubled satellite industry over the past twelve months. In 2003 rival satellite service provider Inmarsat was purchased by leveraged buyout firms Apax Partners and Permira. Intelsat recorded a profit of USD181 million in 2003 on revenues of USD953 million.