Eutelsat and OneWeb sign US$3.4 billion merger deal

by | Jul 26, 2022 | China, Constellation, Finance, India, SpaceX

French satellite operator Eutelsat and UK government part-owned OneWeb have signed a merger deal that values the latter at US$3.4 billion. The acquisition by Eutelsat will see the creation of a new company to compete in the commercial space race with Elon Musk’s Starlink and Jeff Bezos’s Project Kuiper.

OneWeb’s constellation of 648 low Earth orbit satellites – of which 428 are in orbit – will be added to Eutelsat’s own fleet of 36 geostationary orbit (GEO) satellites. A “common platform, hybrid terminals and a fully mutualized network” are all part of the plans to combine the two entities, according to a joint statement by Eutelsat and OneWeb. In a move to bolster OneWeb’s Gen-2 constellation, Eutelsat will suspend its dividend for two years to invest more funds into the satellite network.

The news comes 15 months after publicly listed Eutelsat acquired 24 per cent of OneWeb for $550 million and as satellite TV business declines in favour of connectivity services, slated to be worth $16 billion by 2030. Eutelsat hopes the deal, billed as a merger of equals, will help it become the “first multi-orbit satellite operator offering integrated GEO and LEO solutions”. It will compete with rivals such as SpaceX, which has more than 2,500 satellites already in LEO for its Starlink broadband constellation.

Eutelsat was not the only one scoping out merger opportunities with the British start-up. In 2017 Intelsat also attempted an acquisition of OneWeb – but this quickly fell through, after Intelsat’s bondholders refused to support the terms of the deal.

In contrast, the Eutelsat-OneWeb merger is supported by the majority shareholders in both companies: the UK government and Indian telecoms company Bharti Global for OneWeb, and the French state-owned investment bank Bpifrance for Eutelsat. All three are represented on the new “balanced board”, which will include Eutelsat’s CEO Eva Berneke and a chairman from each company: Dominique D’Hinnin and Indian telecoms billionaire – and founder of Bharti Global – Sunil Bharti Mittal. The companies will also be allowed to propose seven directors each to fill the other spaces on the new board.

As part of the deal OneWeb shareholders will receive 230 million newly issued Eutelsat shares, which will represent 50 per cent of the combined group’s share capital. The UK government – which bailed out OneWeb from bankruptcy in the US in 2020 – has also maintained a “Special Share” in the company along with other exclusive rights. These include the ability to refuse services to undesirable customers on the basis of national security, and a say on supply chains and launches.


Both Eutelsat and OneWeb will keep their headquarters in Paris and London respectively, while Eutelsat plans to list the new merged group on the London Stock Exchange. Courtesy: Eutelsat.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles

Aspiring launch provider Relativity Space is selected by OneWeb to provide launches for its Gen 2 satellites

OneWeb signed a "launch services agreement for multiple launches" with upcoming American launch provider Relativity Space on 30 June. According Read more

Astroscale gets funding to demo satellite removal

While the ELSa-D docking test mission is not going to plan in orbit due to thruster issues, its owner/developer Astroscale Read more

Soyuz launch-stymied OneWeb taps ISRO for launches after similar SpaceX multi-launch deal

OneWeb, a UK-based low Earth orbit (LEO) communications satellite constellation operator, has announced that it has contracted with the Indian Read more

OneWeb calls and SpaceX answers with launch contract to complete constellation after Soyuz cancellations

SpaceX has ridden to the rescue of low Earth orbit satellite operator OneWeb after it lost its Soyuz rides for Read more

Analysis: Putin orders Russian tanks to roll into Ukraine…and spaceflight will be affected (Updated/Corrected)

On 21 February, Russia’s President Putin ordered troops and tanks into disputed territories of Donetsk and Luhansk for “peacekeeping”, which Read more

Second OneWeb mission from Kourou launches more satellites to orbit

Arianespace successfully launched a Soyuz 2-ST-B/Fregat M vehicle from the Sinnamary launch site near Kourou in French Guiana at 1809 Read more

Another 36 OneWeb satellites are launched into orbit by a Soyuz 2.1b/Fregat

Russia successfully launched a Soyuz 2.1B/Fregat vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, near Tyuratam in Kazakhstan, at 1310 GMT on 27 Read more

OneWeb crosses constellation halfway mark with another launch

LEO constellation contender OneWeb passed the satellite deployment, halfway mark with another 36-unit launch from Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia. The mission Read more