The UK offer to buy OneWeb won at an auction in New York, The Telegraph may reveal.
Britain had made offers for OneWeb, the satellite company it hopes will build a rival to the EU’s Galileo, together with support from Indian telecommunications billionaire Bharti Enterprises of Sunil Mittal.
The UK offer won last night and an announcement could come as soon as noon, sources said.
Britain was facing a bidding war against the Canadian company Telesat, supported by the Canadian government. He plans to place a $ 500 million (£ 402 million) bet on OneWeb, an Anglo-American satellite company which went bankrupt in March after its major investors, including SoftBank, withdrew following the hit of the coronavirus pandemic .
The offer has yet to be definitively approved by the court next week and US regulatory clearance. The approval would see the UK take a 20% stake in the company together with a consortium of other private investors.
British space agency officials told the government last week that investing in OneWeb to build a rival to the EU’s Galileo system could ultimately prove to be a failed attempt as the company’s system is unable to provide signals of accurate location, they said.
OneWeb satellites currently orbit around 1,200 km, compared to over 20,000 km and beyond for the American GPS and the EU’s Galileo system. UK Space Agency officials said the OneWeb system would require more satellites than the GPS system to cover the same terrain and would require more ground monitoring stations.
OneWeb declined to comment. The government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.