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Bharti Global commits $1 billion to acquire OneWeb, funds to restart business operations in UK

Bharti is expected to contribute significant contract value to OneWeb through its presence across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa

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VoicenData Bureau
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Bharti

UK-based satellite 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 for the acquisition of the OneWeb business in connection with its court-supervised sale process. The consortium brings immediate commercial value to OneWeb.

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Way back around June 2015, Bharti had acquired a minority stake in OneWeb. Now, this bid is designed to capitalize the company sufficiently as a going concern to effectuate the full end-to-end deployment of the OneWeb system.

Following a competitive process, the consortium's winning bid represents a strong offer that will enable OneWeb to successfully emerge from the Chapter 11 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 press statement indicates that Bharti Airtel's extensive mobile broadband networks and enterprise business will act as the testing ground for all OneWeb products, services, and applications.

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Bharti is expected to 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.

It is believed that the commitment of HMG accelerates and enhances OneWeb's global access. OneWeb will now be able to 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.

Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb commented, "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. This successful outcome for OneWeb underscores the confidence in our business, technology, and the work of our entire team. With differentiated and flexible technology, unique spectrum assets and a compelling market opportunity ahead of us, we are eager to conclude the process and get back to launching our satellites as soon as possible."

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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 should work with the OneWeb management team to further develop the strategy and business plan and to resume the OneWeb's launch schedule.

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