By Sam Nussey and Kate Holton
TOKYO/LONDON July 1 (Reuters) – Indian conglomerate Bharti Enterprises is backing a bid for collapsed SoftBank-backed satellite operator OneWeb, two resources claimed, in a consortium that is supported by the British federal government.
OneWeb submitted for Chapter 11 individual bankruptcy at the conclude of March just after its biggest investor SoftBank Team Corp pulled funding, with an auction for the startup owing to commence on Thursday.
London-based mostly investment agency Unbound is operate by the son of Indian telecoms tycoon Sunil Bharti Mittal, whose pursuits include things like telecoms and authentic estate. The British federal government is weighing up a 20% stake in OneWeb, 1 of the sources explained.
Bharti, which previously invested in the startup, did not reply to a request for comment. OneWeb and the British authorities declined to comment.
OneWeb, established in 2014 by entrepreneur Greg Wyler, planned to start 650 satellites into low earth orbit to offer universal world-wide-web but was locked in a frequent battle to raise money.
An early entrant in a sector with challengers which include Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the startup’s spectrum and rights will become increasingly precious in the lengthy run as the place company heats up, just one of the sources reported.
Other parties, including individuals concentrating on the spectrum, are also circling, resources have explained. Canada’s Telesat is intrigued, a single of the resources mentioned.
OneWeb’s former investors contain chip supplier Qualcomm Inc and Airbus , with which it ran a satellite manufacturing unit based mostly in Florida.
Bharti’s bid was first claimed by Bloomberg, with the British government’s backing documented by the Financial Periods.