French Eutelsat in talks on a possible merger with British satellite operator OneWeb

A Soyuz-2.1b rocket booster with a Fregat upper stage and satellites from Britain’s OneWeb is removed from a launch pad after the launch was canceled at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, March 4, 2022.

Roscosm. via Reuters

French satellite company Eutelsat said it was in talks with British rival OneWeb over a possible merger deal, which would help the two companies challenge Elon Musk’s SpaceX-owned Starlink and Amazon’s Project Kuiper. .com.

“Following recent market rumours, Eutelsat Communications confirms that it has entered into discussions with its co-shareholders in OneWeb regarding a possible combination of all shares to create a global leader in connectivity with complementary GEO/LEO activities,” said Eutelsat on Monday.

The talks were based on a transaction that would allow shareholders of Eutelsat and OneWeb to each own 50% of the new combined entity, while there was no assurance that the talks would lead to a final agreement, added Eutelsat. .

The deal would bolster the two companies in the race to build a low-orbit satellite constellation, challenging SpaceX’s Starlink and Amazon.com Inc’s Project Kuiper.

The merger is also politically sensitive, as it would bring together Indian billionaire Sunil Bharti Mittal, France, China and Britain as shareholders of the combined entity.

Eutelsat said it estimates the “satellite connectivity” market will be worth around $16 billion by 2030.

Demand for satellite launches set to pick up after recent sanctions sidelined Russia’s space launch industry and giant satellite constellations could offer a new channel to deliver high-speed internet from space .

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