UK satellite operator may be taken over by EU rival

The OneWeb and Eutelsat merger could challenge Elon Musk-owned Starlink
UK satellite operator may be taken over by EU rival

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.

NASA loses touch with Moon probe

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

Original Article