French geostationary (GEO) satellite operator Eutelsat has confirmed that it has engaged in discussions with its fellow shareholders in low earth orbit (LEO) network OneWeb regarding a potential all-share combination of the companies.
Eutelsat currently holds 23% of OneWeb’s share capital, alongside a consortium of public and private investors, including the UK government. Eutelsat made its first equity investment in OneWeb in April 2021 and the firms deepened their relationship with a Global Distribution Agreement announced in March 2022.
The combined entity would be a multi-orbit satellite operator offering integrated GEO and LEO connectivity. OneWeb’s service is expected to be fully deployed in 2023.
Under the terms of the transaction being discussed, Eutelsat would hold 50% of the combined group’s shares, with OneWeb’s other shareholders holding the other 50%. The deal would be structured as a contribution by OneWeb’s shareholders of their stake in OneWeb to Eutelsat in exchange for newly issued Eutelsat shares, the GEO operator said.
Any combination would be subject to, among other conditions, approval by the requisite majority of Eutelsat shareholders and receipt of all relevant antitrust and regulatory approvals.