Bankruptcy court approves OneWeb sale

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WASHINGTON — A federal bankruptcy court approved Oct. 2 the sale of broadband megaconstellation company OneWeb to the British government and Indian telecommunications company Bharti Global.

At a confirmation hearing in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, judge Robert D. Drain approved the reorganization plan for OneWeb, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy there in March. That plan will allow OneWeb to resume full business operations, including resuming deployment of a constellation of 650 satellites in low Earth orbit to provide broadband internet access.

The British government and Bharti Global offered $1 billion to acquire OneWeb in a bid accepted by the court in July. Since then, they have been working to finalize the agreement, including working out agreements with various creditors.

The court’s approval of the plan does not complete the sale of OneWeb. The company said in a statement that the sale will close once it receives “customary regulatory approvals” that it expects to be in place by the end of the year. “In the meantime, OneWeb is resuming operations and readying its commercial services which are planned to start next year,” it stated.

OneWeb announced Sept. 21 it had a revised contract in place with Arianespace to permit launches of its satellites on Soyuz rockets to resume in December. Two days later, the court approved $235 million in additional debtor-in-possession financing to allow company operations to continue through the end of the year, including production of new satellites at the OneWeb Satellites factory in Florida.

“As we await the final mechanical components of the transaction, we set our eyes back to the skies with the resumption of launches later this year and commencing commercial services within a year,” Adrian Steckel, chief executive of OneWeb, said in a statement.