UK/India OneWeb sole bidder
July 3, 2020
By Chris Forrester
Seemingly the UK and India were the solitary joint bidder for OneWeb’s assets.
The UK government, in a statement on July 3rd, said it would provide $500 million (€444.9m), as would Indian telco Bharti Global, in the bid for OneWeb’s assets. Business Secretary Alok Sharma said it would help deliver the “first UK sovereign space capability”.
“Our access to a global fleet of satellites has the potential to connect millions of people worldwide to broadband, many for the first time, and the deal presents the opportunity to further develop our strong advanced manufacturing base right here in the UK,” added Sharma.
The UK announcement from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) talked about it being a “significant” stake in OneWeb as well as developing a “strong manufacturing base right here in the UK”, which implies that OneWeb’s expensive satellite building joint-venture facility in Florida with Airbus will be relocated.
It is also reported that Canadian and assorted other potential bidders, including Chinese, all pulled out of the auction.
Richard Franklin, MD/Airbus Defence and Space UK, said: “The news that the UK Government backed bid for OneWeb is likely to be successful is good news for the space sector in the UK. Space is not only critical to our national infrastructure but also provides thousands of day-to-day benefits.”
“The UK Government’s vision in backing this project will drive innovation and new ways of thinking about how space can contribute even more to the UK economy, and the country’s defense requirements, as well as playing a part in delivering broadband Internet to communities across the country. We look forward to supporting OneWeb in the next phase of their business and growing the UK contribution to this market changing business,” added Franklin.
Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb, commented: “We are delighted to have concluded the sale process with such a positive outcome that will benefit not only OneWeb’s existing creditors, but also our employees, vendors, commercial partners, and supporters worldwide who believe in the mission and in the promise of global connectivity.”
The bid is not quite in the bag, given that OneWeb’s bankruptcy court is allowing objections to the sale to be made by July 8th. More clarification will emerge on July 10th from the court.