Satellite operators Eutelsat and OneWeb sign merger MoU

26 Jul 2022

French-backed satellite operator Eutelsat Communications has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with shareholders of UK-based OneWeb to merge the two companies in an all-share transaction. The move is aimed at combining Eutelsat’s 36-strong fleet of geostationary (GEO) satellites with OneWeb’s constellation of 648 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, of which 428 are currently in orbit, creating an entity strongly positioned to address the fast-growing global connectivity market.

A press release issued today (26 July 2022) notes that the potential transaction builds on the deepening collaboration between Eutelsat and OneWeb, begun with the equity stake acquired by Eutelsat in OneWeb in April 2021, the global distribution agreement between Eutelsat and OneWeb announced in March 2022, and a new exclusive commercial partnership addressing mainly the European and global cruise markets, also signed today.

The transaction would be structured as an exchange of OneWeb shares by its shareholders (other than Eutelsat) with new shares issued by Eutelsat, such that, at closing, Eutelsat would own 100% of OneWeb (excluding the ‘Special Share’ of the UK Government). OneWeb shareholders would receive 230 million newly issued Eutelsat shares representing 50% of the enlarged share capital. Eutelsat would continue to be listed on Euronext Paris and apply for admission to standard listing on the London Stock Exchange, while OneWeb’s headquarters would remain in the UK. The MoU values OneWeb at USD3.4 billion.

The transaction is subject to clearance from relevant regulatory authorities and conditional on approval by an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of Eutelsat shareholders to be held by the end of H1 2023. Eutelsat investors Bpifrance and Fonds Strategique de Participations have already undertaken to vote in favour at the EGM.

France, United Kingdom, Eutelsat Communications, OneWeb