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UK satellite operator may be taken over by EU rival

The OneWeb and Eutelsat merger could challenge Elon Musk-owned Starlink

A UK satellite company that was bailed out by the government two years ago looks likely to be merged with an EU rival.

French-based satellite company Eutelsat confirmed on Sunday it was discussing a merger with British provider OneWeb, which could help both companies challenge the likes of Elon Musk-owned Starlink.

“Eutelsat Communications confirms that it has engaged in discussions with its co-shareholders in OneWeb regarding a potential all-share combination to create a global leader in connectivity,” Eutelsat said in a statement, adding that it estimated the “satellite connectivity” market to be worth around $16 billion by 2030.

OneWeb, whose low-orbit satellites provide services including broadband, was bailed out by Boris Johnson’s government in July 2020 after it failed to secure funding for a planned fleet of 650 satellites. As The Guardian newspaper pointed out, the bailout came after the UK was barred from accessing the EU’s Galileo satellite navigation system because of Brexit.

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Among OneWeb shareholders are India’s Bharti Enterprises (38.6%) Eutelsat (22.9%,) the UK Government (19.3%) and other entities. Eutelsat’s biggest shareholders are the French and Chinese governments with a 20% and 5% stake respectively.

OneWeb had used the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and other Russian-operated sites to launch its satellites into space for seven years, until it suspended cooperation in March due to international sanctions against Russia. Later that month OneWeb signed a deal with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and expected to resume launches in the fourth quarter of this year. Eutelsat currently broadcasts TV channels in Russia and some neighboring countries, reaching 50% of homes across the region.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

https://ift.tt/trkwOj0 25, 2022 at 04:38PM
from RT – Daily news

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