OneWeb, the global Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, has secured further fund-raising on the anniversary of the successful bid by UK government and Bharti Global (Bharti) to purchase OneWeb from US Chapter 11 bankruptcy to bring its total funding to US$2.4 billion. OneWeb has completed its transformation with the exercise of a call option by Bharti to invest an additional US$500 million into the company. The announcement comes as OneWeb prepares for its eighth launch on 1 July, delivering highly anticipated and strategically valuable Arctic region coverage down to 50 degrees latitude.
The call option is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals. On completion of the call option and with Eutelsat’s US$550 million investment, Bharti will hold 38.6 percent. The UK government, Eutelsat and Softbank will each own 19.3 percent. The final shareholding structure may alter to the extent a member of the shareholders’ group chooses to exercise a part of this call option. On completion, OneWeb will have secured US$2.4 billion of equity investment, with no issued debt.
OneWeb’s executive chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal, said “OneWeb represents a unique opportunity for investors at a key moment in the commercialisation 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 backhaul and enterprise and governments can serve remote installations.”
Shravin Mittal, managing director of Bharti Global, said “Bharti is delighted to show our confidence in OneWeb’s rapid progress by exercising our call option with the support of fellow shareholders. In just a year and during a global pandemic, together we have transformed OneWeb, bringing the operation back to full-scale. With this round of financing, we complete the funding requirements. We will continue to work alongside our partner shareholders, UK government, Softbank and Eutelsat, to realise this unique opportunity.”
Neil Masterson, CEO of OneWeb, said “The completion of our funding puts OneWeb in a powerful position. We have significantly lower entry cost of any LEO. We benefit from US$3.4 billion 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.”