Bharti will invest an additional $500 million (over Rs 3,700 crore) into OneWeb, to become the largest shareholder in the satellite communications company that billionaire Sunil Mittal-run Bharti Group, along with the UK government, had rescued from bankruptcy last year.
The investment is a result of the exercise of a ‘call option’ by Bharti. On completion of the transaction and with Eutelsat’s $550 million investment, Bharti will hold 38.6 percent. The UK government, Eutelsat, and SoftBank will each own 19.3 percent, OneWeb said in a statement.
The transaction is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021, subject to regulatory nod.
The announcement comes as OneWeb gears up for its eighth launch on 1 July, delivering much-anticipated and strategically valuable Arctic region coverage down to 50 degrees latitude.
“OneWeb, the global low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, has secured further fundraising on the anniversary of the successful bid by the UK government and Bharti Global (Bharti) to purchase OneWeb from US Chapter 11 to bring its total funding to USD 2.4 billion,” OneWeb informed.
“The completion of our funding puts OneWeb in a powerful position. We have a significantly lower entry cost than any LEO. We benefit from $3.4bn of pre-Chapter 11 investment by the original shareholders, making new OneWeb a three-times lower cost Constellation. With the forthcoming launch, we will have completed 40 percent of our Network. We are intently focused on execution, and just ten more launches will enable us to deliver global coverage. Investors have backed the extraordinary efforts of the OneWeb team to deliver more of the global connectivity the World needs,” said Neil Masterson, CEO of OneWeb.
OneWeb has completed its transformation with the exercise of a call option by Bharti to invest an additional $500 million into the company.
The statement said that the final shareholding structure could alter to the extent a member of the shareholders’ group chooses to exercise a part of the call option.
On completion, OneWeb will have secured $2.4 billion of equity investment, with no issued debt.
OneWeb’s Executive Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal noted: “OneWeb represents a unique opportunity for investors at a key moment in the commercialization of Space. With its Global ITU LEO Spectrum priority, Telco partnerships, successful launch momentum, and reliable satellites, OneWeb is ready to serve the vital needs of high-speed broadband connectivity for those who have been left behind. Nation-states can accelerate their universal service obligations, Telcos, their ba.