Bharti to invest additional Rs 3,700 cr into OneWeb

NEW DELHI: Bharti will invest an additional USD 500 million (over Rs 3,700 crore) into OneWeb, to become the largest shareholder in the satellite communications company that billionaire Sunil Mittal-run Bharti Group along with the UK government had rescued from bankruptcy last year.

The investment is a result of exercise of a ‘call option’ by Bharti. On completion of the transaction and with Eutelsat’s USD 550 million investment, Bharti will hold 38.6 per cent. The UK government, Eutelsat and SoftBank will each own 19.3 per cent, OneWeb said in a statement.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021, subject to regulatory nod.

“OneWeb, the global low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, has secured further fundraising on the anniversary of the successful bid by the UK government and Bharti Global (Bharti) to purchase OneWeb from US Chapter 11 to bring its total funding to USD 2.4 billion,” OneWeb informed.

OneWeb has completed its transformation with the exercise of a call option by Bharti to invest an additional USD 500 million into the company, it added.

The announcement comes as OneWeb gears up for its eighth launch on July 1, delivering much-anticipated and strategically valuable Arctic region coverage down to 50 degrees latitude.

The statement said that the final shareholding structure could alter to the extent a member of the shareholders’ group chooses to exercise a part of the call option.

On completion, OneWeb will have secured USD 2.4 billion of equity investment, with no issued debt.

OneWeb’s Executive Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal noted that the company 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,” Mittal added.

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