JetBlue Could Spin Off Its LiveTV Subsidiary

Skift Take

With in-flight connectivity and entertainment such a hot commodity, JetBlue could spin off LiveTV or sell it to monetize an asset for its shareholders.

— Dennis Schaal

JetBlue considers the streaming Internet that it gets from LiveTV as integral to its brand identity, but that doesn’t mean it needs to continue to own its wholly owned subsidiary.

Asked whether JetBlue plans to spin off LiveTV, Mark Powers, JetBlue’s CFO, told analysts January 29 that the airline will mull strategic options for LiveTV, acquired by JetBlue in 2002 for $41 million in cash and the retirement of $40 million in debt.

“… As you think about LiveTV, the in-flight entertainment and now obviously the connectivity aspects are core to the JetBlue brand,” Powers said.

“And so, we will continue to look at, as we move forward, strategic options that are obviously in the best interest of, amongst others, our shareholders.”

LiveTV partnered with ViaSat to provide JetBlue with in-flight connectivity. In that regard, JetBlue currently has its Fly-Fi service installed on 10 A320 aircraft, with plans to install the service on 15 additional Airbus aircraft per month in 2014. JetBlue rolled out its first aircraft with the service in December.

Installation of the satellite-based Wi-Fi would be complete on JetBlue’s E190 aircraft by the end of 2015, the airline says.

LiveTV also provides in-flight entertainment, voice and/or connectivity services to Virgin Australia, Alitalia, Azul, United, WestJet and Frontier.

LIveTV, which provided services on 439 aircraft through the end of 2012, and has contracts for an additional 219 through 2015, competes with Rockwell Collins, Thales Avionics, Panasonic Avionics, GoGo, Row44, OnAir and Aeromobile.

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