San Francisco-based global communications company MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (TSX: MDA) said it agreed to acquire Colorado-based Earth imagery company DigitalGlobe Inc. (NYSE: DGI), for US$35.00 per share in a combination of cash and stock. The deal values DigitalGlobe at an equity value of C$3.1 billion (US$2.4 billion), and an enterprise value of C$4.7 billion (US$3.6 billion), including assumption of C$1.6 billion (US$1.2 billion) in net debt.

The deal has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, and is expected to close in the second half of 2017, subject to regulatory and shareholders’approvals, and customary closing conditions. As part of the deal, MDA will apply to list its shares on the NYSE in addition to the TSX.

DigitalGlobe brings to the combined company the industry’s most sophisticated satellite imaging constellation, a 17-year time-lapse image library, a world-class ground infrastructure, and a growing ecosystem of geospatial content producers and consumers leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to address complex global problems at scale.

As previously reported by ExitHub, DigitalGlobe recently acquired The Radiant Group, which dramatically expands its capabilities in advanced geospatial expertise and analytics.

DigitalGlobe is a mission partner to the U.S. Government and friendly foreign governments, serving customers in 90 countries around the globe and a diverse set of industry-leading commercial customers. The company’s next generation constellation, WorldView-Legion, and its partnership with KACST and TAQNIA Space to build a fleet of small satellites, SCOUT, will allow the company to image the most rapidly changing places on Earth up to 40 times per day.

The combination will bring together complementary space-related capabilities, creating a stronger company aiming to capture growth in the U.S., Canadian and global Earth observation and geospatial services markets.

“Today’s announcement creates a new company that will lead the industry, offering space systems and imaging solutions from inception to execution, able to make design decisions with our customer’s needs in mind,” said Howard L. Lance, president and chief executive officer of MDA, who will lead the combined company. “This combination has the scale, resources and technology to serve the large and increasingly complex needs of government and commercial customers globally. By combining MDA and DigitalGlobe, we are significantly expanding our total addressable market by broadening both companies’ capabilities and facilitating future growth.”

Jeffrey R. Tarr, president and chief executive officer of DigitalGlobe, said, “Following a thorough review of strategic alternatives, we believe that joining forces with MDA will enable us to deliver more value to our customers, expand opportunities for our team members and maximize value for shareowners. This compelling transaction will deliver immediate cash value to shareowners with further upside through ownership in the combined entity, position DigitalGlobe to reach its next phase of growth and provide greater opportunities for our team members by being part of a larger, more diversified company.”

MDA is one of Canada’s leading technology companies, and has provided government and commercial customers with innovative space systems and solutions for decades. Since its founding more than 60 years ago in Palo Alto, Calif., MDA’s subsidiary company SSL (Space Systems Loral) has been the recognized global leader in communications satellite design and manufacturing. SSL’s global customers operate more than 85 communications satellites in geostationary orbit. SSL also produces small satellites for Earth observation and communications applications. In addition, SSL executes programs for NASA and other U.S. Government agencies, and was recently awarded two U.S. Government spacecraft program contracts for NASA, including Restore-L and Psyche.

MDA Information Systems, based in Gaithersburg, Md. and Ypsilanti, Mich., is a leading provider of geospatial processing solutions and mission systems to U.S. Government and commercial customers. MDA in Canada is the leading supplier of radar satellites, geospatial services, integrated systems and robotics to the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and commercial customers through its operations in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Halifax.

The deal is expected to be accretive to MDA’s Operating EPS in 2018 and the combined company will deliver meaningful revenue and cost synergies of C$75-150 million on a run-rate basis by 2019. Revenue synergies include accelerating SSL’s penetration into U.S. Government markets, international market expansion, cross-selling opportunities and the ability to target larger geospatial services contract awards. Cost synergies include elimination of duplicative public company costs, procurement cost savings, efficiencies gained by leveraging SSL’s manufacturing capabilities for future Earth observation satellite constellations, and the operational benefits of increased scale.

The DigitalGlobe name, brand and headquarters in Westminster, Colo. will be maintained. In addition, three of DigitalGlobe’s current directors will be appointed to the MDA Board of Directors. The combined company will have approximately 4,600 employees in the United States and will continue to employ more than 1,800 in Canada.

BofA Merrill Lynch is serving as financial advisor, and Vinson & Elkins LLP and Stikeman Elliott LLP are serving as legal counsel, to MDA. RBC Capital Markets is serving as financial and capital markets advisor to MDA, and BMO Capital Markets provided a fairness opinion. Fully committed financing for the transaction is being provided by Royal Bank of Canada and BofA Merrill Lynch.

PJT Partners and Barclays are serving as financial advisors, and O’Melveny & Myers LLP is serving as legal counsel, to DigitalGlobe. PJT Partners and Barclays provided fairness opinions to DigitalGlobe.

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