OneWeb bought by UK government and Bharti

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Communications company OneWeb has entered into an agreement with a consortium led by HMG  (through the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy) and Bharti Global Limited (“Bharti”) for the acquisition of the OneWeb business.

The bid is designed to capitalise the company sufficiently as a going concern to in order to achieve a full end-to-end deployment of the OneWeb system.

Following a competitive process, the consortium’s bid represents a strong offer that will enable OneWeb to emerge from the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process with a robust foundation on which to continue its progress towards commercial operations and secure OneWeb’s position as a global leader in low latency connectivity.

The consortium brings immediate commercial value to OneWeb. Bharti, through Bharti Airtel, is the third largest mobile operator in the world, with over 425 million customers. Bharti Airtel has its own extensive mobile broadband networks and enterprise business, which will act as the testing ground for all OneWeb products, services, and applications.

Bharti will contribute significant contract value to OneWeb through its presence across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, where the terrain necessitates the use of satellite-based connectivity, providing a near-term anchor customer for large-scale global deployment of OneWeb’s services.

OneWeb will also contribute to the UK government’s ambition to join the first rank of space nations, along with its commitment to making the UK the world’s leader in science and research and development.

OneWeb remains ready to continue building its communications system to deliver transformative connectivity available everywhere including to businesses and people in remote and rural parts of the world, starting with the Arctic, while also maintaining a strong corporate purpose to do good through its communications and other services.

Says Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb:

“We are delighted to have concluded the sale process with such a positive outcome that will benefit not only OneWeb’s existing creditors, but also our employees, vendors, commercial partners, and supporters worldwide who believe in the mission and in the promise of global connectivity. The combination of HMG and Bharti will bring immediate value as we develop as a global leader in low latency connectivity.” 

The transaction remains subject to approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, as well as regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close by the fourth quarter of 2020. In the meantime, the purchasing consortium will work with the OneWeb management team to further develop the strategy and business plan and to resume the Company’s launch schedule.

Chris Price
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