Bharti Global has invested an extra $500 million (€420.5m) into satellite constellation OneWeb. It means that the business is fully funded at $2.4 billion.
The extra cash from Bharti means that it now owns 38.6 per cent of the business. The other key investors, Eutelsat, the UK government and Softbank, are each holding 19.3 per cent of the company. The new money from Bharti came as a result of a Call Option to investors. This current shareholding might change if one or other of the remaining investors decides to respond positively with more money.
The news comes just ahead of OneWeb’s next batch of satellites which are due to be launched on July 1st. Arianespace is due to launch 36 satellites from Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome.
OneWeb’s Executive Chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal, said: “OneWeb represents a unique opportunity for investors at a key moment in the commercialisation of Space. With its Global ITU LEO Spectrum priority, Telco partnerships, successful launch momentum and reliable satellites, OneWeb is ready to serve the vital needs of high-speed broadband connectivity for those who have been left behind. Nation states can accelerate their universal service obligations, Telcos, their backhaul and Enterprise and Governments can serve remote installations.”
Neil Masterson, CEO of OneWeb, added: “The completion of our funding puts OneWeb in a powerful position. We have significantly lower entry cost of any LEO. We benefit from $3.4bn of pre-Chapter 11 investment by the original shareholders, making new OneWeb a three-times lower cost Constellation. With the forthcoming launch we will have completed 40 per cent of our Network. We are intently focused on execution and just ten more launches will enable us to deliver global coverage. Investors have backed the extraordinary efforts of the OneWeb team to deliver more of the global connectivity the World needs.”