February 6, 2020 / 6:21 PM / 2 months ago

Musk's SpaceX plans IPO for Starlink business

FILE PHOTO - A crowd gathers before SpaceX's Elon Musk gives an update on the company's Mars rocket Starship in Boca Chica, Texas U.S. September 28, 2019. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare

(Reuters) - Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to list its space internet venture, Starlink, but not for several years, a company official told Reuters on Thursday.

The plan comes as Jeff Bezos’ e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) prepares to build its own internet network of over 3,000 satellites in low-Earth orbit through its Project Kuiper.

SpaceX has been launching Starlink satellites in batches of 60 since May and currently has 240 orbiting Earth. The company aims to make the broadband internet service operational by the end of 2020.

Earlier in the day, Bloomberg reported the possibility of Starlink going public, citing Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell.

“Right now, we are a private company, but Starlink is the right kind of business that we can go ahead and take public,” the report quoted Shotwell saying at a private investor event in Miami.

Shotwell’s remarks came on the day of a key launch from Starlink’s main competitor OneWeb Satellites, a SoftBank-backed venture that aims to send 34 of its planned 648 satellites to space on Thursday.

Musk said last year Starlink was an important new revenue stream for his California-based Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX.

The company’s so-called Starlink constellation is a planned network of up to 30,000 satellites in low-Earth orbit intended to beam broadband internet globally.

In May, SpaceX launched the first batch of 60 small satellites for Starlink internet service.

Reporting by Joey Roulette in Cape Canaveral and Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Shinjini Ganguli

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