The UK satellite company OneWeb and its French rival Eutelsat recently said they had signed an initial merger deal that could help them challenge the likes of the Elon Musk-owned SpaceX’s Starlink.
In the satellite sector, consolidation is definitely becoming a bit of a thing. Last year, Viasat acquired Inmarsat, and SES is believed to be in merger talks with Intelsat.
OneWeb and Eutelsat said their new, combined entity would have revenue of about €1.2 billion and core earnings of about €700 million by the 2022-23 financial year, while revenue was forecast to grow at a low double-digit compound annual growth rate over the next decade.
They had already signed a distribution agreement in March 2022. That deal was to enable Eutelsat to sell LEO-based services to maritime, aviation, enterprise, telcos and government users (LEO stands for low Earth orbit).
At the time, the two companies said they had been working more closely together since the end of 2021 when Eutelsat increased its stake to become OneWeb’s second-largest shareholder with a 23 per cent stake.
OneWeb, which will continue to operate as its own brand under Eutelsat, has deployed a total of 428 satellites to date
, equivalent to two-thirds of its target constellation of 648 satellites.
It’s an impressive recovery for a firm that was saved from bankruptcy
in 2020 by the UK government and Indian company Bharti Global.
In March 2022 it was hit by a new setback when forced to pause its launch of LEO satellites after a standoff with Russian space agency Roscosmos, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Despite all this, it now seems poised to become a much more powerful player. Our updated profile of OneWeb, along with profiles of Amazon’s Kuiper Systems, EchoStar/Hughes, Inmarsat, Lynk, SES, Starlink and Telesat, are available to research service subscribers here