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OneWeb’s bankruptcy examined

March 31, 2020

Examining the OneWeb Chapter 11 ‘debtor in possession’ documents, it is Arianespace which is the company’s top creditor owed $238 million in unsecured claims. OneWeb signed a contract worth $1.1 billion back in 2015 for a total of 21 launches using Ariane’s Soyuz rocket.  Three of those launches have happened, the most recent at the beginning of March when 34 satellites were orbited.

However, OneWeb also has contracts in place with Arianespace for the maiden flight of its all-new Ariane 6 rocket, and has signed options for two further Ariane 6 launches.

The company is understood to have laid off some 85 per cent of its staff and has some $1.7 billion of debt.

OneWeb’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition to the Court seeks a “Restructuring to execute sale process”. The company, in its statement, says: “OneWeb is actively negotiating debtor-in-possession financing, which, if acquired and approved by the Bankruptcy Court, will ensure OneWeb is able to fund additional financial commitments as it conducts a sale process under Section 363 of the US Bankruptcy Code. Together, these actions will allow OneWeb to meet post-petition obligations to its remaining employees and certain vendors in the ordinary course.”

It has also emerged that OneWeb’s strategy is to get through the Coronavirus storm, and then solicit bids from potential buyers. Guggenheim Securities is advising OneWeb on its options.

Should a buyer not come forward and a full bankruptcy follow then the 74 satellites already orbiting could fall into the hands of the UK government, along with the licences held by OneWeb/WorldVu.

OneWeb’s shareholders are listed as:
Softbank 37.41%
Qualcomm 15.93%
Greg Wyler* 11.94%
Airbus  8.5%
*Greg Wyler 1110 Ventures LLC

OneWeb’s main backer, SoftBank, saw its share price plunging 10 percent in trading on March 30. Other investors, besides the listed shareholders, include Coca-Cola, Bharti Airtel, Virgin Group and others.

OneWeb’s major Associated companies, also in Ch 11 bankruptcy.
·     Network Access Associates Limited
     OneWeb ApS
     OneWeb Chile SpA
     OneWeb Communications Limited
     OneWeb G.K.
     OneWeb Global Limited
     OneWeb Holdings LLC
     OneWeb Limited
     OneWeb Ltd
     OneWeb Network Access Holdings Limited
     OneWeb Norway AS
     WorldVu Australia Pty Ltd.
     WorldVu Development LLC
     WorldVu JV Holdings LLC
     WorldVu Mexico, S. DE R. L. DE C.V.
     WorldVu Satellites Limited
     WorldVu South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
·     WorldVu Unipessoal Lda

Not specifically itemised is OneWeb’s Florida joint-venture (OneWeb Satellites) with Airbus which is building the company’s satellites.

Besides Arianespace, other key creditors include:

Qualcomm  $8.0m
Deloittes  $6.8m
Hughes Network Sys. $5.3m
Deutsche Bank  $5.2m
Wipro   $2.5m
Willis Towers  $1.9m
Viasat   $1.2m
Nokia   $988,000
Redapt   $662,275
Rockwell Collins $596,775
Disputed claim

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