Bharti & UK govt team bags satellite firm OneWeb for $1 billion

A consortium of Bharti Enterprises of India and the UK government made a bid to capture OneWeb, offering to invest $ 1 billion (7,465 crore) in the British firm, which is one of the satellites to deliver wireless broadband worldwide Trying to build the planetarium went bankrupt.

The two partners will each invest $ 500 million in OneWeb, which aims to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband services, especially in rural areas, and likes Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink and Jeff Bezos’s Amazon-linked project Kuiper is.

The British government will take a significant equity stake in OneWeb, Britain’s trade secretary Alok Sharma said in a statement. He will provide commercial and operational leadership, Bharti said, and bring OneWeb a revenue base to contribute towards its future success.

Britain and Bharti, which are investing through overseas branch Bharti Global, did not announce how much they would hold until press time on Friday. People said each would get a 45% stake, with existing investors holding the remaining 10%.

Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Mittal said in a separate statement, “Bharti will continue to be the leader in the effort to deliver on the promise of universal broadband connectivity through OneWeb.”

Sunil Mittal’s son Shravan as the director of Bharti Global led the bid for Bharti Enterprises, which has several investments in the telecom, technology, hospitality, transportation and energy sectors.

Bharti Airtel, India’s second largest telco holding company, Bharti Enterprises, was one of the founding members of OneWeb and had a strategic stake in the company prior to the latest development.

OneWeb was founded in 2014 by entrepreneur Greg Wyler. It raised nearly $ 3.3 billion in debt and equity from a group of investors such as Softbank, Airbus, Qualcomm, Coca Cola, Intelsat and Grupo Salinas. It went bankrupt in March after its largest investor SoftBank went bankrupt. An auction was held on Thursday.

The new proposed investment, which is expected to help the company complete construction of the constellation, is subject to approval from a US court and other regulatory approvals, and is expected to close before the end of the year, the UK government said in a statement.

Mittal said the business had “substantial business use cases” in the telecommunications, enterprise, aviation and maritime sectors, and with strong operational execution, Bharti would be able to generate an attractive return for investors, while also ensuring That Britain plays a leading role in space. And next generation communication.

He further added, “India’s pioneering capabilities in the space program through the Indian Space Research Organization can be leveraged to enhance OneWeb’s ambitions,” he said.

SBICaps Securities research head Rajeev Sharma said: “The deal could potentially mislead the Bharti group into the big leagues in the global satellite communications arena with the likes of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink and Amazon’s Project Viper, although the challenges in delivering affordable Are. Satellite broadband services in the absence of low-cost terminals. ”

He, however, said that Bharti’s partnership with the UK government could reward new revenue streams, as OneWeb was likely to participate in a number of government projects to deliver high-speed satellite broadband connectivity to rural markets around the world.

According to US bankruptcy court filings, OneWeb has estimated assets ranging from $ 1 billion to $ 10 billion and liabilities in the same range.

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