U.K. govt. group led by Bharti wins bid for bankrupt OneWeb

Bharti Global, London to each invest $500 million in buying the satellite provider

A U.K. government consortium led by Bharti Enterprises has won the bid to acquire bankrupt satellite technology company OneWeb. Bharti’s overseas arm Bharti Global would invest $500 million as part of the acquisition, with the U.K. putting in a similar amount.

“The deal will enable OneWeb to complete the construction of a global satellite constellation that will provide enhanced broadband and other services to mobile and fixed terminals in countries around the world,” Bharti Enterprises, which was one of the founding members of the London and U.S. based company, said in a statement on Friday.

OneWeb was formed with a mission to offer high speed, low latency wireless broadband access to billions of people across the globe, especially in rural areas through a constellation of satellites in low earth orbit.

Separately, the U.K. said its investment would deliver the country its first sovereign space capability.

Final say

“Bharti will provide the company commercial and operational leadership, and bring OneWeb a revenue base to contribute towards its future success,” the U.K. government said, adding that London would have a final say over any future sale of the company, and over future access to OneWeb technology by other countries on national security grounds.

“With strong operational execution, we will be able to generate an attractive return for investors, while ensuring that Britain plays a leading role in space and next generation communications,” Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said. He added that the business had substantial commercial use cases across the telecoms, enterprise, aviation and maritime sectors.

The deal is subject to U.S. court approval and is expected to close before the end of the year.

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