Company - - Dec 20,2016
Japan-based tech giant Softbank has announced an investment of $1 billion in US space start-up OneWeb, which plans to build a network of satellites to provide global broadband access.
Softbank founder Masayoshi Son said this is the first step towards delivering on his promise to Donald Trump about US investment. Earlier this month, he had announced to put $50 billion into US businesses and create over 50,000 jobs during Trump’s term of four years.
OneWeb, in competition with Elon Musk’s SpaceX, is working on satellites that will help in providing faster internet to the third world countries. Softbank's investment will give it a 40% stake in the Florida-based OneWeb, making it the biggest shareholder. The deal is also expected to create about 3,000 jobs in the US.
This funding also includes $200m from existing investors. The US venture has already raised a sum of $500m from a group of investors including US chipmaker Qualcomm, the European aerospace group Airbus, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin, and the Indian conglomerate Bharti. OneWeb is now estimated to be worth around $2.5bn following its latest funding round.
Softbank already owns US wireless carrier Sprint and it acquired British chip designer Arm Holdings for $32 billion this July. Mr. Son said that his company has a long history of investing in disruptive, foundational technologies that promise the world to realize the future sooner. He also praised the innovative techniques of OneWeb, adding that America has always supported such ventures of technological development and that his company is thrilled to be part of such a system.
Mr Son had been an early investor in Alibaba, being the earliest to seek the potential of e-commerce. In October this year, Softbank also ventured with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund to launch a technology fund worth $100 billion.