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Google Selling Terra Bella Satellite Imaging Business to Planet Labs
Google’s parent company Alphabet is selling its Terra Bella satellite imaging business to earth-imaging company Planet Labs. Planet Labs offers satellite imagery for many projects in agriculture, ecological research and other mapping related projects. Terra Bella was acquired by Google in 2014 for $500 million and the business was earlier named as SkyBox. Both the companies have confirmed the news about sale of Terra Bella but the amount of transaction has not been disclosed yet. Terra Bella currently collects data using its seven SkySat satellites.
Google has also entered a deal with Planet Labs for using satellite imagery for its current applications and services. Planet Labs will acquire Terra Bella’s seven satellites. Planet Labs is undergoing a major expansion in its fleet of satellites. The company will be launching 88 satellites this month from Statish Dhawan Space Center in India.
As a part of the deal between Google and Planet Labs, 80 current employees working in the Terra Bella unit will be shifted to Planet Labs. Google’s parent company Alphabet has been working on reducing the load of supporting business ventures that are too far from the company’s original business. In the recent quarters, Alphabet has sold some of its ventures and many of them have been sold at a marginal loss. Alphabet aims to concentrate on some of its major businesses, mainly the businesses having massive potential. The move to sell off some of its business interests comes after Google hired Ruth Porat as CFO.
Talking about the deal, San Francisco-based Planet Labs informed, “Planet will distribute SkySat data through Planet’s suite of geospatial offerings. Planet’s global medium-resolution imagery has proven to be of great value in the commercial market, enabling us to exceed our revenue goals in 2016. With Terra Bella, Planet will diversify its available data and solutions and be able to serve new customers and markets.”
A report published by The Verge informed, “Alphabet has also outright shut down or sold some of its once-promising divisions. Last month, the company closed its solar-powered drone project in favor of putting more resources toward its air balloon Wi-Fi initiative Loon and the Project Wing drone unit. In May 2016, Alphabet put up its high-profile robot builder Boston Dynamics for sale.”
“From the start, Planet and Terra Bella have shared similar visions and approached aerospace technology from a like-minded position, and while our on-orbit assets and data are different, together we bring unique and valuable capabilities to users,” said Terra Bella Co-Founder John Fenwick. “Planet and Terra Bella together enables the continuation of our mission and makes for an ever-stronger business.”