By Adria Calatayud
The U.K. government and Bharti Global Ltd. have committed to pay $1 billion to acquire satellite company OneWeb and fund the restart of its operations, the parties said Friday.
U.K. Business Secretary Alok Sharma said the government will invest $500 million and take a significant equity stake in the company alongside Bharti Global, part of Bharti Airtel Ltd. The deal will enable OneWeb, which develops satellite technology in the U.K. and the U.S. and filed for bankruptcy protection in March, to build a global satellite constellation, the government said.
OneWeb said the consortium's bid won a competitive process with a strong offer that will enable it to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy with a robust foundation. The company will look to resume operations as soon as possible, it said.
The deal is expected to close by the end of 2020, subject to approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court as well as regulatory approval, OneWeb said.
The U.K. government said it will have final say over any future sale of OneWeb and over future access to its technology by other countries on national security grounds.
OneWeb had launched 74 satellites and had begun development on a range of user terminals for a number of markets when it filed for bankruptcy.
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