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New Delhi, July 27, 2020
Broadband satellite networks and services major Hughes Network Systems today said it would participate in the winning consortium led by the UK government and India's Bharti Enterprises that will acquire OneWeb out of bankruptcy.
Hughes has agreed in principle to invest $50 million in the consortium. Additionally, Hughes will continue as a technology and distribution partner to OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite operator which had launched 74 satellites before filing for Chapter 11 protection in March.
“We are pleased to be part of this winning team, along with the British Government and Bharti,” said Pradman Kaul, president, Hughes. “Our continuing and strengthened involvement with OneWeb extends naturally from our position as a leading geostationary satellite operator and ground network innovator, along with a meaningful partnership with Bharti and longstanding relationship with the U.K. through our business operations in both countries.”
“This global consortium brings the right players together to fulfill the promise of the OneWeb constellation in deploying low-latency services for communities, enterprises, governments, airplanes and ships – complementing geostationary connectivity and ushering in the new era of multi-transport services that will serve growing bandwidth demand around the world. We look forward to doing our part in developing this groundbreaking technology and bringing those services to market," Kaul added.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and Chairman, Bharti Enterprises said, “We are delighted to welcome Hughes to the consortium. The investment by Hughes underlines OneWeb’s exciting commercial prospects, reflected in the ongoing discussions with some of the world’s leading strategic and financial investors.”
Consummation of the consortium is contingent upon execution and effectiveness of definitive agreements. Confirmation of OneWeb’s reorganization is contingent on certain conditions established by the Bankruptcy Court, a press release from Bharti said.
Through its Hughes Europe division, which is headquartered outside of London, and sister company EchoStar Mobile Limited, Hughes has worked closely with the U.K. Government.
Furthermore, Hughes Communications India Ltd, (HCIL), a majority-owned subsidiary of Hughes, and Bharti Airtel Limited, a leading Indian telecom provider affiliated with Bharti, are in the process of combining their satellite broadband operations in India. The merger, which was announced in 2019, is pending regulatory approvals and is expected to bring greater scale, operational efficiencies and market reach to deliver solutions for enterprise and government networks.
On July 3, Bharti had announced that a UK Government consortium led by it had won, through a court-supervised sale process, the bid for acquisition of OneWeb, the communications company whose mission is to bring connectivity to governments, businesses and people everywhere.
A separate announcement by OneWeb said the consortium had committed to provide more than $ 1 billion to acquire the company and fund the full restart of its business operations.
Bharti said in a press release on that date that the deal would enable OneWeb to complete the construction of a global satellite constellation that will provide enhanced broadband and other services to mobile and fixed terminals in countries around the world.
OneWeb was formed with a mission to offer high speed, low latency wireless broadband access to billions of people across the globe, especially in rural areas through a constellation of satellites in low earth orbit. Bharti was one of the founding members of OneWeb and had a strategic stake in the company.