Bharti Said to Be Targeting Collapsed Satellite Operator OneWeb

Bharti Enterprises is backing a bid for Failed SoftBank-backed satellite operator OneWeb, two sources said, in a consortium, That’s supported by the British Authorities.

OneWeb filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the end of March after its biggest investor SoftBank Group pulled financing, with an auction for its startup due to begin on Thursday. London-based investment company Unbound is run by the son of Sunil Bharti Mittal, whose interests include telecoms and real estate.
The British government is weighing up a 20 percent stake in OneWeb, among the sources mentioned.

Bharti, which previously invested in the startup, did not respond to a request for comment.

OneWeb along with the British authorities declined to comment.

OneWeb, founded in 2014 by entrepreneur Greg Wyler, planned to launch 650 satellites into low Earth orbit to provide worldwide Internet but was locked in a continuous battle to raise funds. An early entrant in a sector with challengers such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the startup’s rights and spectrum will become more and more beneficial in the long term as the distance industry heats up, among the sources mentioned. Other parties, including those targeting the spectrum, are also circling, sources have said.

Canada’s Telesat is curious, one of the sources mentioned.

OneWeb’s previous shareholders include chip provider Qualcomm and Airbus, with which it ran a satellite factory based in Florida.

Bharti’s bidding was initially reported by Bloomberg, together with the British government’s funding reported by the Financial Times.

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