Spire Global, a recently listed satellite constellation operator, is buying exactEarth, a Canadian ship-tracking company, in its first big acquisition, raising anticipation of greater space consolidation amid the wave of public corporations. Based in Vienna, Virginia, which has 110 Lemur satellites in the low Earth orbit and offers analysis and data-gathering services in marine and other industries, Spire is purchasing exactEarth for $161.2 million in stock and cash. The transaction values exactEarth at a little over 9 times its total income over the previous 12 months, according to the businesses’ announcement on September 14.
If a minimum of two-thirds of the exactEarth shareholders approves the merger at a meeting scheduled for November, they will own around 3.8 percent of Spire. Around 60% of exactEarth’s shareholders have already backed Spire, such as its directors and officers. According to the plan, exactEarth CEO Peter Mabson would report to Peter Platzer, the Spire CEO as exactEarth becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Spire.
In a statement, Platzer stated, “Peter and I have a vision for the possibilities for space-based marine data and the automation of the worldwide maritime sector, and I am looking forward to achieving that ambition together.” “I have a lot of regard for the very experienced staff at exactEarth, and I’m looking forward to working with them to continue pushing this digital transformation and provide a more comprehensive data and solutions platform to more customers.”
exactEarth, situated in Cambridge, Ontario, was created in 2009 to provide the worldwide maritime industry with Satellite-Automatic Identification System (S-AIS) services. The acquisition, according to Spire, has increased its customer base by over 75%, with over 150 S-AIS business and government customers in 39 countries. Last year, exactEarth traded four of its satellites, as well as supporting ground stations as well as equipment, to Myriota, an Australian company that utilizes them to connect internet-of-things devices.
Currently, the Canadian operator has 63 satellites in the orbit, including seven spares. Spire claims that purchasing exactEarth offers an indirect ownership share in Myriota, allowing it to expand further in the rapidly-growing satellite-centered IoT industry. After combining with NavSight, which is a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Spire began trading on New York Stock Exchange on August 17th.
The transaction generated $265 million in cash, which will be used to expand globally through marketing, sales, and product development. The SPACs, or the blank check firms, are a rising trend among space startups, as they provide a relatively quick route to public markets.
Chris Kemp, CEO of Astra, which is a small launch vehicle manufacturer that became public on July 1 following a SPAC merger, believes the trend will continue. Kemp said a consolidation cycle might have decade-long ramifications for the satellite sector during a panel discussion at the Satellite 2021 event on September 9. During the conference, Peter Beck, the CEO of Rocket Lab, which was recently listed on New York Stock Exchange, said that his business is investigating several prospective acquisitions.