Following its Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, OneWeb’s aim is to carry on operating under ‘debtor in possession’ rules and is looking for a buyer to acquire the assets – such as they are.
Sami Kassab, satellite analyst at investment bank Exane/BNPP, says that Eutelsat could be a potential buyer.
Kassab said: “We note that Eutelsat has no broadband LEO constellation project and believe it might find an interest in looking at OneWeb for its orbital rights and market access licenses could be of value for the French operator.”
Kassab added that OneWeb’s problems could be good news for satellite operator SES and in particular its subsidiary mPower. mPower is the name given to SES-owned O3b (which coincidentally was also founded by Greg Wyler who went on to form OneWeb).
“OneWeb’s failure is likely to benefit incumbent satellite operators, in particular SES. SES is the only company to have a non-GEO broadband infrastructure in the market at this stage. It is to launch its second-generation network (mPower) next year and will face less competition as OneWeb and Leosat are out of business. By the nature of Chapter 11 OneWeb might be able to remain in business and deploy a second-generation constellation as did Iridium, Globalstar or Orbcomm two decades ago or might be taken over. However, this is likely to take several years and will still provide a competitive relief for SES mPower in 2021,” said Kassab.