The recently announced merger of the French satellite operator Eutelsat and the satellite Internet operator OneWeb could lead to unusual legal consequences. Some 3.4 per cent of Eutelsat's shares are owned by the Russian state company FGPS Space Communications, so it is likely that it will become a minority shareholder of a new association that intends to provide global Internet cover to the world.
Eutelsat and OneWeb have already signed a memorandum of understanding and are in the process of merging. Eutelsat intends to increase the share of OneWeb to 100%, as a result of a series of transactions, the share of Eutelsat and co-owners of OneWeb in the new unified corporation will be 50%, and GPCS may be among the shareholders who own a small number of Eutelsat shares.
Now, among the shareholders of OneWeb, the Governments of the United Kingdom and Rwanda, Indian and Japanese holding, as well as other shareholders, which could be added to the FGPS "Space Communications" scheme, according to some reports, could receive about 1.7% of the shares under the GPCS merger scheme. However, according to the representatives of GPCS itself, the merger is unlikely to allow the "Space Communications" to become a full-fledged shareholder — the terms of the deal and how they will be implemented — as is not known what will happen to Russian shares. Experts believe that it is unlikely that the shares of the new association will automatically be received.