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Bharti-led consortium backed by UK government wins bid for OneWeb; to make joint $1 bn investment


Kolkata: A consortium of India’s Bharti Enterprises and the UK government has won a bid to take over OneWeb, offering to invest $1 billion (Rs 7,465 crore) in the British firm that went bankrupt while trying to build a constellation of satellites to deliver wireless broadband globally.


The two partners will invest $500 million each in OneWeb, which aims to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband services, especially in rural areas, and take on the likes of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink and Jeff Bezos’s Amazon-linked Project Kuiper.


The British government will take a significant equity share in OneWeb, UK business secretary Alok Sharma said in a statement. Bharti, he said, would provide commercial and operational leadership, and bring OneWeb a revenue base to contribute towards its future success.


The UK and Bharti, which is making the investment through overseas arm Bharti Global, didn’t announce how much stake they would own until press time Friday. People in the know said each would get a 45% stake, with existing investors retaining the remaining 10%.


“Bharti will be leading the effort to deliver the promise of universal broadband connectivity through OneWeb, with active support and participation of the British government,” Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Mittal said in a separate statement.


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