OneWeb takeover by UK government consortium backed by bankruptcy court

Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite operator OneWeb has moved another step forward in its reorganisation process, with US courts granting approval for the sale of the company to the UK government and Bharti Global.

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York confirmed the Chapter 11 plan of reorganisation presented by OneWeb on October 2, allowing the takeover deal first announced in July to proceed to the next stage of gaining regulatory approvals, which OneWeb says is expected to happen by the end of 2020.

The takeover will allow OneWeb to continue with plans to deploy its initial 650 LEO satellite constellation under the new ownership of the UK government and Bharti, with the company already resuming operations and aiming to start commercial services some time in 2021.

OneWeb has already announced that it hopes to recommence its launch programme before the end of 2020, having negotiated a new deal with Arianespace to begin a programme of 16 launches from December that would see the global constellation deployed in 2022.

“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,” said Adrian Steckel, Chief Executive Officer of OneWeb.

“We are working closely with (the UK 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.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

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