Pair makes $2.4B geospatial consolidation play

In a sign of the growing importance of geospatial technologies, two companies are combining in a $2.4 billion deal that brings together end-to-end space capabilities.

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates is acquiring DigitalGlobe Inc. in a $2.4 billion deal that pulls together two providers of geospatial imagery and data.

The combination will bring together several space-related capabilities and should position the entity to pursue more opportunities in the United States, Canada and globally, the company said in an announcement.

The new company will have products and services around end-to-end space systems, earth imagery and geospatial solutions. Capabilities will include communications and Earth observation satellites and robotics, ground stations, integrated electro-optical and radar imagery, and advanced data analytics.

While the government market isn’t the only users of these types of services, there is growing demand. Last week, GSA issued a request for information because it is exploring whether to create a special item number for Earth observation solutions as part of the schedule.

The MDA-DigitalGlobe combination will create a new company “offering space systems and imaging solutions from inception to execution,” said Howard Lance, president and CEO of MDA. “This combination has the scale, resources and technology to serve the large and increasingly complex needs of government and commercial customers globally.”

Lance said that the acquisition is part of the Canadian company’s U.S. Access Plan. “We are committed to serving the U.S. government as a mission-critical partner with an expanded portfolio,” he said.

MDA is a Vancouver, British Columbia, based company but it has operations globally, including the United States. Its U.S. operations primarily go through Space Systems Loral. DigialGlobe, which has extensive work with the U.S. military, will become a standalone division under SSL.

The deal is expected to close during the second half of 2017.