In order to compete with projects like SpaceX’s Starlink & Amazon.com’s (AMZN.O) Project Kuiper, owned by Elon Musk, and SpaceX’s rival OneWeb, owned by the British business OneWeb, French satellite provider Eutelsat (ETL.PA) announced it was in talks with the British company.
OneWeb, which has been estimated at $3.4 billion in its most relative and recent investment cycle and in which Eutelsat has already a 23 percent share, was acquired by Eutelsat, according to two sources familiar with the negotiations who also revealed over the weekend that the company was ready to seal the deal.
Addressing recent market rumours, Eutelsat said in a statement that its Communications acknowledges that it has spoken with its fellow OneWeb shareholders about a potential all-share merger to create a world leader in connectivity. OneWeb chose not to respond.
By 08:45 GMT, shares of Eutelsat had decreased 17% to 8.65 euros.
Investors don’t like the ambiguity, and if ETL, or Eutelsat, merges with OneWeb on an equal basis, ETL investors will receive a part of the new company, whereas the other half is essentially unknown to them. So, it makes sense, according to a dealer in London, that ETL shares are lower after the announcement.
The main topic of discussion is a deal that would give shareholders of Eutelsat and OneWeb a 50/50 split of the newly amalgamated company. Though there were no guarantees that the negotiations would lead to a binding agreement, Eutelsat observed.
An agreement would benefit both businesses in the competition to create a network of minimal-orbit satellites. However, a merger would be politically controversial because it would include Sunil Bharti Mittal, an Indian billionaire, as well as France, China, and Britain as investors of the merged entity.
Credit Suisse indicated in a note that this deal will probably face intense anti-trust scrutiny and will probably require political agreement from the UK and EU at a period when the UK is electing a new Prime Minister.
By 2030, Eutelsat predicted that the satellite connection business will be valued at roughly $16 billion.
After recent sanctions rendered the Russian space flight sector inoperable, the appetite for space missions is anticipated to increase, and massive satellite constellations may provide a new route for transmitting broadband Internet from orbit.
Bpifrance, a state-owned investment bank in France, is the largest shareholder in Eutelsat with a 20-percent interest. China Investment Corp, a sovereign wealth fund, is the company’s fourth-largest shareholder, per Refinitiv data.
The British government & Bharti Global of India saved OneWeb from bankruptcy. According to a source familiar with the situation, a merger is set to leave the British authorities with a modest ownership interest in the combined company.
According to a different source, Britain would continue to have unique control of OneWeb after the transaction, including the ability to veto sales to customers who might pose a security risk and the relocation of the company’s headquarters.
Aside from a veto over corporate deals that would jeopardise the integrity of the team termed as Five Eyes – intelligence alliance, which consists of Canada, Australia New Zealand, Britain, and the U.S., these special privileges would also give them a say in supply chain and deployment decisions.
In the meantime, a committee of parliamentarians claimed in a report released on Monday that Britain’s government-run National Health Service (NHS) is experiencing its worst-ever employment shortage with thousands of openings and that the government has no effective plan to address the issue.
One of the biggest challenges confronting Boris Johnson’s heir as prime minister once they enter office in September will be dealing with a health system that is failing under the combined burden of lengthy waitlists and staffing shortages.