SoftBank Re-Invests in OneWeb
SoftBank Group has made an investment into the new iteration of OneWeb, the company announced Jan. 15. This marks SoftBank re-investing into OneWeb, after the former majority investor pulled out of a funding round in March, sending the company into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
OneWeb did not disclose the specific amount of funding for SoftBank’s new investment, but said investments by Softbank and Hughes Network Systems, through its parent company Echostar, bring total funding to $1.4 billion. Bharti Global and the U.K. government invested $500 million each to bring OneWeb out of Chapter 11, and Hughes had previously announced a $50 million investment — which would indicate that SoftBank is investing $350 million. SoftBank will also gain a seat on the OneWeb Board of Directors.
OneWeb said this investment “positions the company to be fully funded for its first-generation satellite fleet” of 648 satellites by the end of 2022. This comes after OneWeb recently adjusted its plans for its full constellation, asking the FCC for U.S. market access for a constellation of 7,000 satellites, versus its prior request for a 48,000-satellite constellation.
SoftBank Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son commented in the news release: “We are excited to support OneWeb as it increases capacity and accelerates towards commercialization. We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Bharti, the U.K. government and Hughes to help OneWeb deliver on its mission to transform internet access around the world.”