Leading global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has advised Bharti Global and the UK Government (through the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) on a US$550m investment in OneWeb from Eutelsat, a listed French satellite and telecommunications company, bringing OneWeb’s total funding to just under US$2 billion.
The capital raised to date positions OneWeb to be fully funded for its first-generation satellite fleet, totalling 648 satellites, by the end of 2022.
In November 2020, Bharti Global and the UK Government completed its acquisition of OneWeb and invested US$1 billion of new equity to offer broadband connectivity services, via a constellation of 650 Low Earth Orbit satellites. OneWeb launched a further 36 new satellites, built at its Airbus Joint Venture assembly plant in Florida, USA, bringing its total fleet to 182 satellites.
The Herbert Smith Freehills team was led by OneWeb relationship partners Alan Montgomery and Gavin Davies and senior associates Siddhartha Shukla and Martyn Jones, supported by Edward Gainer and Sophie Lundsberg.
Specialist advice was provided by Veronica Roberts and Max Kaufmann (Regulatory), Aaron White and Lyndon Coppin (TMT) and Isaac Zailer (Tax).
Alan Montgomery commented: “It has been a tremendous privilege to work with Bharti, Her Majesty’s Government, OneWeb, and Eutelsat on these significant investments and also to continue to be part of the OneWeb story.”
Gavin Davies commented: “We are delighted to have again been able to assist OneWeb, Bharti and the UK Government on a significant strategic investment. OneWeb has ambitious growth plans and we look forward to being a part of OneWeb’s journey.”
Herbert Smith Freehills had also advised Bharti and its consortium with the UK Government on the acquisition of OneWeb (see here), as well as OneWeb on investments by Softbank and Hughes (see here).