Eutelsat, a French satellite business, said it was in negotiations with British rival OneWeb about a prospective merger, which would help both companies compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s Starlink and Amazon.com’s Project Kuiper.
“Following recent market rumors, Eutelsat Communications confirms that it has engaged in discussions with its co-shareholders in OneWeb regarding a potential all-share combination to create a global leader in connectivity with complementary GEO/LEO activities,” said Eutelsat on Monday.
The talks were centred on a transaction in which Eutelsat and OneWeb shareholders would each own 50% of the new, combined firm, but there were no guarantees that the talks would result in a final agreement, according to Eutelsat.
The deal would enhance both businesses’ positions in the battle to develop a constellation of low-orbit satellites that would compete with SpaceX’s Starlink and Amazon.com Inc’s Project Kuiper.
The merger is also politically delicate because it would bring together Indian billionaire Sunil Bharti Mittal, France, China, and the United Kingdom as shareholders in the combined corporation.
According to Eutelsat, the’satellite connectivity’ business would be worth roughly $16 billion by 2030.
After recent sanctions crippled Russia’s space launch industry, demand for satellite launches is likely to rise, and giant satellite constellations could provide a new channel for beaming broadband internet from space.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)