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DigitalGlobe to Acquire Radiant in Effort to Expand Gov’t Appeal

By | October 13, 2016
      DigitalGlobe HQ 2015

      DigitalGlobe’s headquarters set for 2015 in Westminster, Colo. Photo: Griffin Capital

      [Via Satellite 10-13-2016] Earth imagery provider DigitalGlobe has announced it will be acquiring the Radiant Group in a $140 million agreement that will help to protect it from growing competition in the government sector. The agreement to acquire the technology and analytics business aims to strengthen DigitalGlobe’s current position as a commercial source of geospatial information and expand its ability to support critical U.S. government missions, according to the company. The purchase adds a litany of software developers and analysts who can help to sift out more complex geospatial and intelligence challenges.

      “Their expertise in software and services addresses many of our customers most complex geospatial challenges, in fact we are already working together in a number of areas including the implementation of our geospatial Big Data platform within the U.S. government,” said DigitalGlobe CEO Jeffrey R. Tarr, during an Oct. 11 conference call to discuss the acquisition with journalists and investors. “Radiant expands DigitalGlobe’s customer base across the U.S. government and intelligence communities through access to more than 80 contract vehicles, more than 20 of which are prime contracts.”

      Chantilly, Virginia-based Radiant has a growing presence within the U.S. intelligence sector and has contracts with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Special Operations Command (SOCOM), the company is looking to the acquisition to expand its portfolio and widen government appeal. This could become crucial as one of DigitalGlobe’s main government customers, the NGA, looks to diversify its Earth imagery supplier base, dipping into DigitalGlobe’s competition.

      “The NGA has expressed a desire to incorporate additional imagery suppliers such as Planet, Terra Bella, UrtheCast, Black Sky and move away from the multi-year multi-billion dollar contracts of the past. This could put price pressure on DigitalGlobe’s imagery business with NGA when the current [Service Level Agreement] SLA expires in 2020,” said James McIlree, senior analyst at Chardan Capital Markets in an Oct. 11 research note. “This acquisition enables DigitalGlobe to mitigate that risk and expand its customer base.”

      The acquisition also allows DigitalGlobe to take on new customers, such as the NRO, which Tarr said will become “a significant customer for the company,” through the agreement.

      Moreover, according to McIlree, there is the likelihood that companies such as DigitalGlobe will begin to see increased competition in the government and commercial space with the advent of new smallsat players. While this can limit expansion, the deal with Radiant can help the company protect itself against these growing competitive threats by improving its reach and diversifying its customer base.

      The deal represents DigitalGlobe’s largest acquisition since its 2010 GeoEye deal, but the company expects that Radiant will bring in a 2016 revenue of approximately $100 million and offers organic revenue growth of more than 10 percent. Moreover, while Quilty Analytics analyst Chris Quilty calls the deal a “tad expensive” in an Oct. 12 research note, he believes that it will allow DigitalGlobe to benefit from a more international customer base.

      “We expect minimal cost synergies (Radiant = people + office space), but believe the combination could yield meaningful revenue synergies in international (via DigitalGlobe’s DAP channel) and commercial (via Radiant’s cloud-based software solutions),” said Quilty.

      DigitalGlobe expects to close the deal, which is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, by the end of the year and will fund the acquisition with cash on hand and an existing revolving line of credit.