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Airbus objects to OneWeb’s JV bankruptcy sale

June 18, 2020

Airbus Defence & Space and OneWeb are in a joint-venture to build up to an initial 900 of OneWeb’s Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites at a factory in Florida and a subsequent 1600 follow-on Generation 2 satellites.

Airbus has formally objected to the bankruptcy court which is handling the upcoming sale or auction of OneWeb’s assets as far as the sale includes certain key assets of the joint-venture.

The agreement between the two was reached in June 2015 and further enlarged in November 2015, and was between OneWeb via its WorldVu Development sister business and Airbus and resulted in Airbus OneWeb Satellites LLC being formed.

There are some 60 separate contracts between the j-v and Airbus, and an Airbus motion before the bankruptcy court would “include a sale by the Debtors of the OneWeb Member’s member interests in Airbus OneWeb Satellites”.

Airbus says that some of these contracts are not in dispute, but others are. “The Disputed Airbus Contracts cannot be assumed, or assumed and assigned to the Successful Bidder by the Debtors as part of the Sale, or otherwise, for one or more of the following reasons, as specified in more detail below: (i) the Airbus Member has certain rights of first refusal, dissolution rights, buyout rights, assignment consent rights and other rights under the JV Agreement, which the Debtors must honor, or Airbus must waive, before the Debtors can assume and assign the JV Agreement to a Successful Bidder.”

Airbus states: “The Debtors must comply with, or Airbus must waive, such rights before the Debtors can sell the OneWeb Membership Interests to a Successful Bidder.”  Airbus insists that it has the right of ‘first refusal’ in final ownership of these dispute assets.

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