It’s official: MDA to acquire DigitalGlobe

It’s official: MDA to acquire DigitalGlobe

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Global business newsrooms are abuzz with rumours on MDA planning to buy DigitalGlobe. But there are some serious hurdles.

US: MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), a global communications and information company providing technology solutions to commercial and government organizations worldwide, and DigitalGlobe, the global leader in Earth imagery and information about our changing planet, have announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement, pursuant to which MDA will acquire DigitalGlobe for US$35.00 per share in a combination of cash and stock. The transaction values DigitalGlobe at an equity value of approximately C$3.1 billion (US$2.4 billion), and an enterprise value of C$4.7 billion (US$3.6 billion), including assumption of DigitalGlobe’s C$1.6 billion (US$1.2 billion) in net debt. The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, and is expected to close in the second half of 2017.

WHY THIS COULD BE COMPLICATED DEAL: READ OUR ANALYSIS

Under the terms of the agreement, each DigitalGlobe common share will be exchanged for US$17.50 in cash and 0.3132 MDA common shares, representing a per share value of US$17.50 based on MDA’s unaffected closing share price of C$73.40 on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) on February 16, 2017, the day prior to market speculation about a potential combination, and a C$/US$ exchange ratio of 0.7612. The total cash and stock per share value consideration represents an 18% premium based on DigitalGlobe’s unaffected closing stock price on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on February 16, 2017.

The combination will bring together complementary space-related capabilities, creating a stronger company uniquely positioned to capture growth in the U.S., Canadian and global Earth observation and geospatial services markets given its ability to provide complete, end-to-end space systems, earth imagery and geospatial solutions. Together, the combination will leverage a full suite of space-related capabilities, including communications and Earth observation satellites and robotics, ground stations, integrated electro-optical and radar imagery, and advanced data analytics. Additionally, the combined company will lead in cloud-based information services that allow commercial and government customers worldwide to better understand activity across the changing planet.

As part of the transaction, MDA will apply to list its shares on the NYSE in addition to the TSX. Upon completion of the transaction, the combined Company will continue to execute its U.S. Access Plan strategy. This will include further reorganization of all or part of the combined Company’s corporate and operating structure to ensure that the ultimate parent of DigitalGlobe is incorporated in the U.S. by the end of 2019, subject to customary approvals. MDA undertook a corporate reorganization in 2016 that included the formation of SSL MDA Holdings, Inc. (“SSL MDA Holdings”), the U.S. Operating Company of MDA, under the guidance and approval of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). SSL MDA Holdings currently operates under a Security Control Agreement (SCA) with DoD, allowing it to pursue and execute U.S. Government programs that require security clearances.

“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. “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.”

Lance continued, “MDA remains fully committed to its enduring and valued partnership with the Canadian Government and our Canadian employees. This combination offers the opportunity to deliver future economic and job growth in both Canada and the United States, as we focus on driving sustainable revenue expansion from our investments and create value for all our stakeholders.”

Lance further stated, “The transaction is a major step forward in our previously announced U.S. Access Plan. We are committed to serving the U.S. Government as a mission-critical partner with an expanded portfolio of end-to-end solutions. DigitalGlobe will operate as a stand-alone division under SSL MDA Holdings, in the same way as SSL and MDA’s Canadian businesses.”

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.”

Tarr continued, “Upon completing the transaction, DigitalGlobe will accelerate our vision of being the leading source of information about our changing planet. We look forward to working with the MDA team to ensure a seamless transition and to realize the potential of this exciting combination.”