SES Americom (SESA) won a legal victory this week as the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond upheld a district court summary judgment that SESA did not violate a contract, entered into with Columbia Communications Corp. (CCC), that pertained to the Ku-band satellite service license owned by Loral for the 47° West Longitude orbital slot. The former owners of CCC were the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that sought a payout of $10 million. In 2001, SES Global, the parent of SESA, purchased the satellite assets of GE Americom, which, in turn, had acquired CCC from plaintiffs. As a result, SESA inherited the contract in question from GE Americom. Under that contract, SESA would have been required to pay plaintiffs $10 million if CCC was able to obtain a Kuband license for the 47° W.L. slot by September 2003. Although plaintiffs sought to enter into an agreement covering the acquisition of the 47° W.L license from Loral, such an agreement did not materialize before the deadline. Claiming that SESA caused their right to the $10 million payout to expire, plaintiffs sued SESA for breach of contract. The Fourth Circuit agreed with the district court's ruling that SESA did not breach its contract with CCC as Loral (which ultimately declared bankruptcy) never agreed to sell the license for that slot. Noting that Loral had just started to negotiate a selling price for the 47° W.L license when SESA was asked to sign an agreement for the transfer of that license, the appeals court proclaimed that SESA “did not violate its contractual obligations by refusing to sign the transfer application when there had been no agreement reached with Loral.”