OneWeb paid $ 49.3 million in fees to bankers, lawyers and other advisers acting on behalf of its original shareholders as part of the $ 1 billion deal in which the UK government and India’s Bharti Global bailed out the satellite internet company went bankrupt last year.
The disclosure came in audited accounts released Tuesday. The sale agreement “required the company to finance the selling costs of former OneWeb Communications shareholders,” the accounts said.
Although the advisers were not named, Guggenheim Partners, the New York investment bank and the US law firm Milbank were among those who advised investors on the transaction, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Shareholders disclosed in the bankruptcy petition include Airbus, Hughes Network Systems, a subsidiary of EchoStar, Intelsat, Qualcomm, Virgin Group and SoftBank.
The annual report also revealed that OneWeb incurred an operating loss of $ 58.3 million in the 12 months to the end of March. No comparison with the previous year was provided.
On a brighter note to investors who OneWeb emerged from bankruptcy, the group posted a gain of $ 430.4 million on the fair value of its assets compared to the price of bankruptcy.
Founded nearly a decade ago, OneWeb pioneered space-based internet services but ran into difficulties after several delays led its largest shareholder, SoftBank, to withhold $ 2 billion in new funding to develop its constellation. of satellites. The group entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States in March of last year.
However, since its $ 1 billion bailout by the UK and Bharti, the company has raised $ 2.7 billion in investor financing, including Eutelsat, the European satellite operator, Hanwha, the South Korean conglomerate and even SoftBank. Recent funding rounds are estimated to have valued OneWeb at more than $ 3 billion.
The group has 358 satellites in orbit and intends to launch limited commercial service this year. It expects the full global service to be operational by the end of 2022, when it will have launched the 650 planned low-orbit satellites. OneWeb is targeting annual revenue of more than $ 1 billion within five years of full implementation.
However, OneWeb faces Fierce competition from SpaceX from Elon Musk, which this weekend launched 53 more satellites to its Starlink constellation, bringing its total in orbit to nearly 2,000.
Neil Masterson, CEO of OneWeb, said the company’s approach to space-based internet services was different from SpaceX, noting that it offered additional capacity to existing service providers rather than going directly to the clients.
“The number of satellites does not equal progress,” Masterson said. “Our approach is to work with the existing ecosystem. I am confident in our ability to compete. As long as we stay very focused on meeting customer needs, these things will take care of themselves. “