- A consortium of Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) (through the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and Bharti Global Limited have committed to provide more than USD$1 billion to acquire OneWeb and fund the full restart of its business operations.
- OneWeb will look to resume operations as soon as possible and continue with progress towards providing global high-speed, low latency connectivity via its state-of-the-art satellite constellation.
- Agreement remains subject to approval by OneWeb’s creditors, the Bankruptcy Court, and applicable regulators, with completion expected by the fourth quarter of 2020.
OneWeb, the communications company whose mission is to bring connectivity to governments, businesses and people everywhere, announced today that it has entered into an agreement with a consortium led by HMG (through the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy) and Bharti Global Limited (“Bharti”) for the acquisition of the OneWeb business in connection with its court-supervised sale process. The bid is designed to capitalise the company sufficiently as a going concern to effectuate the full end-to-end deployment of the OneWeb system.
Following a competitive process, the consortium’s winning bid represents a strong offer that will enable OneWeb to successfully emerge from the Chapter 11 process with a robust foundation on which to continue its progress towards commercial operations and secure OneWeb’s position as a global leader in low latency connectivity.
The consortium brings immediate commercial value to OneWeb. Bharti, through Bharti Airtel, is the third largest mobile operator in the world, with over 425 million customers. Bharti Airtel has its own extensive mobile broadband networks and enterprise business, which will act as the testing ground for all OneWeb products, services, and applications. Bharti will contribute significant contract value to OneWeb through its presence across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, where the terrain necessitates the use of satellite-based connectivity, providing a near-term anchor customer for large-scale global deployment of OneWeb’s services.
The commitment of HMG accelerates and enhances OneWeb’s global access. OneWeb will contribute to the UK government’s ambition to join the first rank of space nations, along with its commitment to making the UK the world’s leader in science and research and development.
OneWeb remains ready to continue building its communications system to deliver transformative connectivity available everywhere including to businesses and people in remote and rural parts of the world, starting with the Arctic, while also maintaining a strong corporate purpose to do good through its communications and other services.
OneWeb has always believed that its system has tremendous potential. Demand for a new mix of connectivity services has been underscored during the pandemic, increasing the urgency through which businesses, people, communities must connect and operate.
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 combination of HMG and Bharti will bring immediate value as we develop as a global leader in low latency connectivity. This successful outcome for OneWeb underscores the confidence in our business, technology, and the work of our entire team. With differentiated and flexible technology, unique spectrum assets and a compelling market opportunity ahead of us, we are eager to conclude the process and get back to launching our satellites as soon as possible.”
The transaction remains subject to approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, as well as regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close by the fourth quarter of 2020. In the meantime, the purchasing consortium will work with the OneWeb management team to further develop the strategy and business plan and to resume the Company’s launch schedule.
Additional information about the Company’s Chapter 11 cases can be found at http://www.omniagentsolutions.com/onewebglobal, or by calling the Company’s claims agent at 1-866-680-8121.
Milbank LLP is serving as OneWeb’s legal counsel, FTI Consulting is serving as its restructuring advisor, and Guggenheim Securities, LLC is serving as its investment banker.
HMG is advised by Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Lazard Ltd. Bharti is advised by Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.