Thales to buy JetBlue's LiveTV unit for $400 million

PARIS Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:22am EDT

PARIS (Reuters) - France's Thales (TCFP.PA) said it agreed on Thursday to buy U.S. carrier JetBlue Airways' (JBLU.O) LiveTV unit for $400 million to strengthen its position in the high-growth in-flight entertainment business.

Europe's largest defence electronics company said it expected to complete the purchase in mid-2014 after gaining regulatory approvals.

LiveTV has estimated revenue for 2014 of more than $150 million and employs around 450 people, Thales and JetBlue said in a joint statement.

"Passengers increasingly expect broadband internet services at home, at work and on the move," Thales Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy said.

"Airlines want to enable their passengers to have access to this connected environment within the aircraft, allowing them to interact with both social media and professional networks while they travel."

(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Andrew Callus)

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