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US court approves UK/Bharti purchase of OneWeb

July 13, 2020

By Chris Forrester

OneWeb is now well on its way to being bought by a joint-venture between the UK government and India telco Bharti Global.

A US bankruptcy court approved the sale of OneWeb to the consortium on July 10th in return for a guaranteed $1 billion sum which will be paid 50/50 by the UK and Bharti.

OneWeb issued a statement in which it said: “The parties will work to complete the plan sale process, including filing our plan and disclosure statements with the court, conducting voting with our creditors, and seeking regulatory approval and completing customary closing conditions, and expect the process to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2020.”

The UK/Bharti rescue plan presented to the New York court provides about $640 million to take the business forward – after various settlement costs are deducted.

There are other hurdles to overcome, including regulatory approvals although the parties stress they do not see serious obstacles ahead.

Meanwhile, the bankruptcy court dealt July 10th with a slew of other matters relating to the OneWeb bankruptcy. The firm’s ‘debtor in possession’ authorisation was extended allowing OneWeb to continue in business. One important aspect was OneWeb’s relationship with the existing joint-venture with Airbus in Airbus OneWeb Satellite, which has been building OneWeb’s satellites at a Florida factory.

The court permitted OneWeb to enter into an agreement with the satellite arm of the business and pay an advance sum of $50.7 million for the purchase of satellites.

The Court also received OneWeb’s next 13-week budget of $92.25 million in expenditure plus a further $29 million in costs relating to the restructuring of the company. The court has also approved periodic financing to flow into ‘new’ OneWeb from the buyers as part of the company’s restructuring and transition out of bankruptcy.

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