The US Bankruptcy Court has given its formal approval for the £800 million purchase of satellite company OneWeb, now in the final stages of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganisation.
The buyer will be a new company (‘BidCo’) comprising the UK Government and India’s Bharti Global. Each will hold about 45 per cent of the company’s new shares.
OneWeb currently has 74 of its small Low Earth orbiting satellites in space, and will re-start launches this coming December. Its target is to have 650 in orbit by the end of next year.
OneWeb’s bankruptcy resulted in claims totalling $1.73 billion. SoftBank Group has the largest claim ($1.01 billion), Airbus is also owed a substantial sum ($214 million) as is Arianespace ($276 million).
A statement from OneWeb, issued after the markets closed on October 2nd, said: “OneWeb, the communications company building a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation to deliver global connectivity, has achieved a major step in its reorganisation process. On 2 October 2020, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York confirmed OneWeb’s Chapter 11 plan of reorganisation (the “Plan”), ensuring that the company remains on target to resume full business operations imminently. The Plan details a strong operational foundation for the company to deploy the initial 650 LEO satellite constellation under the new ownership of the UK Government and Bharti Global Limited (‘Bharti’). The transactions outlined in the Plan will be implemented following receipt of customary regulatory approvals, which are expected by the end of 2020. In the meantime, OneWeb is resuming operations and readying its commercial services which are planned to start next year.”
Adrian Steckel, OneWeb CEO, stated: “As we await the final mechanical components of the transaction, we set our eyes back to the skies with the resumption of launches later this year and commencing commercial services within a year. We are working closely with Her Majesty’s Government and Bharti and are pleased with their commitment and partnership as we remain ever-focused on our mission to bring connectivity to communities and people around the world.”