SoftBank (SFTBY) took less than a fortnight to deliver on its promise to President-elect Donald Trump by leading a $1.2 billion investment in OneWeb, a move that would not only support the creation of affordable satellite-based internet access but create thousands of U.S. jobs.
The Japanese wireless carrier said it would shoulder most of the funding, investing $1 billion in OneWeb's new facility in Exploration Park, Fla., while existing investors will pay for the rest. The new facility is planned for launch in 2018 and would produce 15 satellites per week that would speed up the launch and operations of the company's communications network.
"OneWeb is a tremendously exciting company poised to transform internet access around the world from their manufacturing facility in Florida." SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said, who reminded the market of his promise to Trump to invest and create jobs in the U.S.
Son met with Trump in Manhattan on Dec. 6 and promised to invest $50 billion in U.S. businesses and create 50,000 new jobs there.
SoftBank's investment in OneWeb is expected to create nearly 3,000 new engineering, manufacturing and supporting jobs, the company said.
OneWeb, formerly known as WorldVu, was founded in 2012 by Greg Wyler with an aim to create affordable and high-speed Internet access by making satellite constellation. The company has thus far received investments from Airbus (AIR) , Coca-Cola (KO) , Qualcomm (QCOM) and Virgin Media (VMED) , among others. It counts Virgin Media's Richard Branson and Airbus CEO Thomas Enders among its board members and advisers.
The investment is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2017 following regulatory approval.