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Softbank Writes Down $424.7 Million Investment in OneWeb

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
August 19, 2019
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Citing a story in the Sunday Telegraph, City A.M. reports that Softbank took a £380 million ($424.7 million) impairment loss on its investment in OneWeb. Softbank is the largest shareholder in the Internet satellite company.

Airbus, Qualcomm and Virgin Group are among other shareholders in the London-based satellite firm, which boasts a valuation of more than $1bn (£823m) and has earned sought-after “unicorn” status.

In addition to the Softbank writedown, some early investors have lost as much as half of the value of their stakes, according to the report

Oneweb, which secured $1.25bn in its latest Softbank-led funding round, has ramped up its plans for satellite production amid competition from Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’s Amazon.

7 responses to “Softbank Writes Down $424.7 Million Investment in OneWeb”

  1. DougSpace says:

    I don’t see how OneWeb can compete with SpaceX that already has the lowest cost launcher which can recover its first stage. So, for every 60 satellites that it launches it has to build only an upper stage with only one engine. OneWeb has only six satellites in orbit and no follow-up launches for six months now.

  2. Jeff Smith says:

    Ruh roh…

  3. duheagle says:

    Given that OneWeb deliberately crippled the design of its network at the behest of totalitarian potential customers – Russia and China – and was recently stiffed by Russia anyway, I wonder if SoftBank perhaps heard some rumblings about China doing the same and decided to get out ahead of the crowd by acknowledging its losses early. Or maybe the Russia thing was enough on its own to prompt the move.

    With Western militaries off the table as potential customers, given that pretty much every bird in the OneWeb constellation was going to pass through Russian hands before launch – not to mention the inferior quality of service its crippled architecture would provide – Wyler’s only remaining potential customer base was the various Grasshutistans of the world. These have little money and are, for that reason, far likelier to look favorably upon a network with better capability and intrinsically lower prices – Starlink.

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