The merger of DigitalGlobe into a new satellite and data technology company is expected to spark growth for the business — and possibly make Colorado home to company’s new administrative services hub.
Canada’s MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. closed its $2.4 billion purchase of Westminster-based DigitalGlobe on Thursday and renamed the combined business Maxar Technologies Ltd.
The post-merger company (NYSE: MDA) is hunting for a location for its shared corporate services like human resources, finance and similar functions. While no decision has been finalized, there’s a good chance for that to come to Colorado, said Howard Lance, president and CEO of Maxar Technolgies Ltd.
“Westminster and Colorado in general remains a major footprint,” Lance said. “Colorado is well positioned to see growth, on top of the fact that DigitalGlobe is growing.”
Maxar Technolgies listed on the New York Stock Exchange as a result of acquiring DigitalGlobe. The company’s shares trade in both Toronto and the U.S. as “MDA” but will change next week to “MAXR.”
The 6,800-employee company has offices in the major technology and aerospace hubs in the U.S. and Canada — Silicon Valley, Denver, Washington D.C., Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.
It will operate its 4,600-employee U.S. divisions — DigitalGlobe’s satellite imagery business, SSL’s Palo Alto, California-based satellite manufacturings and geospatial data analysis near Washington D.C. — as Maxar Technology Holdings.
DigitalGlobe CEO Jeffrey Tarr is stepping down and will service as an advisor to Maxar into early 2018.
Otherwise, half of Maxar’s executive ranks come from DigitalGlobe.
DigitalGlobe CTO and founder Walter Scott, Jr., becomes CTO of Maxar and will have expanded duties under the new company. Lance praised Scott’s track record and vision.
Daniel Jablonsky, former head of DigitalGlobe’s defense and intelligence business, has been named president of the Maxar’s DigitalGlobe unit.
Maxar named DigitalGlobe imagery executive vice president Timothy Hascall its COO.
The company is combining the engineers and developers with expertise in spacecraft and sensors with data and geospatial analysts and scientists from MDA and DigitalGlobe into a new business unit branded as Radiant Solutions, and that has more than 1,000 employees with national security clearances.
The unit, which has Washington D.C.-area offices in Herndon, Virginia and Gaithersberg, Maryland, will be led by Tony Frazier, who previously had been a senior vice president of services at DigitalGlobe.
The combination of DigitalGlobe’s satellite imagery and data business with MDA’s space technologies business and its Palo Alto, California-based satellite manufacturing business, formerly known as SSL, creates a broad commercial geospatial information and satellite business, Lance said.
MDA’s network of ground-stations and technolgies will be able to process DigitalGlobe’s satellite data faster, and the Maxar’s data analysis business can help customers — both government and commercial — do more with it than before.
“Not only does DigitialGlobe have the highest resolution and accuracy, now you’ll have a way to do it faster than anybody,” Lance said.
During recent hurricanes, the companies supplies U.S. and local government agencies with up-to-the minute information using a combination of MDA’s radar technolgies that see through clouds and darkness, and the high-resolution visual images and data collected during the day by DigitalGlobe’s satellites, Lance said.
“That is a unique capability set they would have had to go out and get that on their own,” Lance said. “There’s no one else in North America that can do that.”
He predicted Maxar will develop new technologies and services, saying the deal with DigitalGlobe is meant to drive revenue growth and expansion for the business.
Lance was in Westminster on Thursday and said he’ll be a frequent presence.
He previously led Harris Corp, which has its broadcast technolgies division based in Douglas County. His son works for Sierra Nevada Corp. locally, too.
“I know this area, and I hope over time to really tap into this market,” he said.