Bharti will finance an extra USD 500 million (about Rs 3,700 crore) in OneWeb, making it the company’s market leader. Bharti Group, led by billionaire Sunil Mittal, and the UK government saved OneWeb from foreclosure last year.
The investment is the result of Bharti exercising a ‘call option’. Bharti will own 38.6% of the company if the purchase is completed and Eutelsat invests USD 550 million. According to OneWeb, the UK government, Eutelsat, and SoftBank will each control 19.3% of the company.
“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 said.
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 news comes as OneWeb prepares to launch its eighth service on July 1, bringing much-anticipated and strategically important Arctic 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.
OneWeb will already have raised USD 2.4 billion in equity funding and will have no outstanding 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.
“Nation-states can accelerate their universal service obligations, telco’s, their backhaul and enterprise and governments can serve remote installations,” Mittal added.