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Inmarsat has not received bid approaches: source

By Paul Sandle and A. Ananthalakshmi

LONDON/BANGALORE (Reuters) - British satellite operator Inmarsat has not received any takeover approaches, a source close to the company said on Wednesday, after speculation had driven the shares up as much as 10 percent.

Media reports had cited French aviation group EADS, U.S. conglomerate General Electric and private equity players as potential suitors for Inmarsat, often the focus of bid rumors, with offers as high as 700 pence a share quoted.

However, the source said the company had not received any approach since at least September, when rumors of a bid circled after Inmarsat's chief executive told Bloomberg that it would be "natural" for private equity to consider investing in the company.

"It seems the story from last year got dragged into the gossip," the source said.

Last year, Harbinger Capital Partners sold off its entire stake in the company following months of talk that the U.S. hedge fund might make a bid for Inmarsat, whose satellites provide voice, data and broadband services for ships and aircraft.

The company's shares, which have lost 40 percent of their value in the last year, have been under pressure recently due to regulatory troubles at its U.S. wireless services partner, LightSquared.

LightSquared's high-speed wireless network project has been delayed by concerns that its service would interfere with crucial GPS devices using adjacent spectrum.

Inmarsat's shares pared some of their early gains and were trading up 4 percent at 457 pence by 1437 GMT, valuing the firm at around 2 billion pounds ($3.17 billion). The shares had touched a high of 480 pence earlier.

An Inmarsat spokesman said the company would not comment on market speculation.

(Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Will Waterman)

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