MacDonald, Dettwiler to buy satellite imaging company DigitalGlobe in $4.7-billion deal

MDA to buy DigitalGlobe in $4.7-billion deal

VANCOUVER — Canada’s leader in space technology, MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (TSX:MDA), will buy Colorado-based DigitalGlobe, Inc. in a friendly deal valued at about $4.7 billion (US$3.6 billion), including debt.

Vancouver-based MDA — which has supplied robotics for the International Space Station, the Canadarm for the U.S. Space Shuttle program and satellite-based Earth imaging â€” is offering cash and stock worth US$35 per share.

The combined company will have about 4,600 employees in the United States and will continue to employ more than 1,800 in Canada.

The MDA and DigitalGlobal boards have unanimously approved the deal and it’s expected to close in the second half of 2017, assuming the required approvals are reached, including sufficient shareholder support.

“This combination has the scale, resources and technology to serve the large and increasingly complex needs of government and commercial customers globally,” MDA president and CEO Howard Lance said in a joint statement.

DigitalGlobe’s president and CEO, Jeffrey Tarr, said that the deal with MDA will position his company “to reach its next phase of growth and provide greater opportunities for our team members by being part of a larger, more diversified company.”

MacDonald, Dettwiler says the combined company will provide a full range of space-related capabilities, including communications and Earth observation satellites, ground stations and robotics.

The offer, which is a combination of US$17.50 cash plus 0.3132 MDA share, values DigitalGlobe’s equity at $3.1 billion (US$2.4 billion). MDA will also assume about $1.6 billion (US$1.2 billion) of debt owed by DigitalGlobal.

The offer is slightly above DigitalGlobe’s stock price of US$34.05 at the end of trading Thursday, prior to the announcement. However, the companies say it’s 18 per cent above the stock’s  Feb. 16 closing price, prior to speculation of a possible deal.

The Canadian Press