Bharti Global to increase OneWeb investment by US$500 million, completing financing for constellation

by | Jun 30, 2021 | Finance, Seradata News

Bharti Global, based in India, intends to increase its investment in LEO constellation operator OneWeb by a further US$500 million, making it the biggest shareholder. The announcement, made on 29 June, details that Bharti has decided to exercise a call option it had following its joint purchase of the company – with the UK Government – last year.  

This transaction is not expected to be completed until later this year. If approved, it will mean that the resurrected OneWeb will have completed raising the US$2.4 billion required to fully launch its first-generation constellation.

OneWeb Logo

 

The recent investment commitment from Eutelsat – read here – and now this financial injection are set to alter the company’s shareholdings significantly. Initially the two joint purchasers of OneWeb, Bharti Global and the UK Government, each had a 45 per cent stake. Later financing from previous shareholders Softbank and EchoStar Hughes reduced these stakes. Now this greater change should result in a share structure with Bharti Global holding 38.6 per cent, and the UK Government, Eutelsat and Softbank each holding 19.3 per cent.

Important factors to consider are that the UK Government will still hold a “golden share” of B-stock, giving it a veto over certain company decisions, and that Eutelsat has not ruled out participating in the Bharti call option to increase its investment, as reported by Peter de Selding on 29 June here.

OneWeb and BT

On 27 June, OneWeb and BT announced that they would jointly investigate how the former’s satellites could be utilised to help bring broadband connectivity to rural locations in the UK. BT is the country’s largest telecommunications company and has been told by the Government to improve rural broadband and phone signal coverage. If successful, this partnership may lead to further opportunities to provide services for BT’s global customers.

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