OneWeb secures $500m in new funding

Satellite operator OneWeb reports that it has secured additional funding from existing investor Bharti Global, which has exercised a call option to invest an additional $500m into the firm and bring its total funding post-Chapter 11 to $2.4 billion.

The deal was announced on the anniversary of the successful bid by the UK government and Bharti to purchase OneWeb from bankruptcy in the US in 2020 for $1 billion. The company has forged ahead with its launch programme in the intervening period and is currently preparing for its eighth launch on 1st July, which will deliver Arctic region coverage down to 50 degrees latitude.

The call option deal is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021. On completion, and with Eutelsat’s recent $550m investment, Bharti will hold 38.6% of the company, while the UK government, Eutelsat, and Softbank will each own 19.3%.

OneWeb says the financial backing provided by these shareholders means that it is now fully funded for its satellite programme, with no debt issuance.

“The completion of our funding puts OneWeb in a powerful position,” said Neil Masterson, CEO of OneWeb.

“We have significantly lower entry cost of any LEO (Low Earth Orbit satellite operator). 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% 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.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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