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OneWeb seeks UK government help

April 14, 2020

Would-be satellite constellation operator OneWeb is looking for the UK government to provide it with a rescue loan.

OneWeb Global has also secured $75 million of fresh cash from its main backer, Japan’s SoftBank despite SoftBank’s own loss-making situation. SoftBank on April 13th reported losses of $12.5 billion overall, and that its ‘Vision Fund’ subsidiary had suffered a $16.5 billion loss amidst what it called “deteriorating market environment”. Its stake in OneWeb (and the Wework business) are outside the Vision Fund.

OneWeb has reportedly also sent a letter to 10 Downing Street, the office of the UK Prime Minister (when he is not suffering from Coronavirus) and the letter offers to relocate the key OneWeb overseas locations to the UK.

The extra cash from SoftBank is received pending an auction on its assets. There is a bankruptcy hearing scheduled for April 24th.

OneWeb is licensed by Jersey in the Channel Islands. The letter reportedly states that shifting all of its key operations to Britain would help deliver on the UK government’s pledge to help deliver faster rural broadband while ensuring that OneWeb’s technology would not fall into foreign hands.

OneWeb has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US under the ‘debtor in possession’ rules. It has a major office facility in west London, but also has offices in Washington DC and Florida in the US.

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