Why has the UK invested $500m in OneWeb’s satellites?

Telegraph 03 Jul 2020 04:21

The collapse of low-earth-orbit satellite business OneWeb in March kickstarted a global bidding war for its assets as countries and businesses around the world scramble to get their hands on its valuable satellite technology.

The UK bid won on Thursday night, sources told the Telegraph. Here’s everything you need to know about the deal:

What is OneWeb, and who owns it?

OneWeb, founded in 2012 as WorldVu, has raised $1.7bn (£1.3bn) in funding to develop a cluster of satellites around the world.

In 2015, it raised $500m in funding from Virgin Galactic and Qualcomm. The company later raised $1bn in funding from Japanese conglomerate SoftBank in 2016. Previous investors then ploughed another $200m into the business.

Who was bidding for OneWeb?

The Government's $500m bid for 45pc of OneWeb was part of a consortium of investors which also included Indian telecoms billionaire Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Enterprises.

United Arab Emirates sovereign wealth fund Mubadala was also in talks about joining the bidding consortium, The Telegraph reported. SoftBank, the largest investor in OneWeb, had also reportedly held talks with the Government about its bid.

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