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Alphabet Inc. Google is in talks with rival Planet Labs Inc. for the acquisition of its Terra Bella satellite company. According to recent reports, the possible acquisition is focused on a cash plus equity deal. Terra Bella’s original name was the Skybox before Google acquired it last 3 years ago for its Google Maps division.

The Terra Bella’s main focused is to take several images of a particular area and then stitch them together to create a high-resolution image that is particularly useful for natural disasters and monitor climate change. What was originally Skybox was bought by Google last 2014 in a deal of a whopping $500 million. Another commercial use the Terra Bella includes is cargo tracking at ports and parking lots cars estimate sales, and according to a statement Google releases at the time of the acquisition is that the satellite would be used to power internet connection to various parts of the world that are out of reach.

Tim Farrar, the head of satellite research firm TMF noted that the building and launching and operating a fleet of satellites are really expensive. Google chose to sell the Terra Bella and opt to buy similar imagery the Terra Bella produces from third party companies. Farrar noted that an estimated $10 million to $50 million dollar is to be spent for purchasing the imagery and finishing, “They don’t need to own satellites,” Farrah said.

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Planet Labs Looks To Provide High-Quality Images

Planet Labs Inc. which was established last 2002 might acquire the Terra Bella if the deal goes through means another satellite imaging startup for the company. Also, the deal would be centered on a cash plus equity deal, although the equity Alphabet will acquire are still not listed. The San Francisco-based satellite company sells a dozen of planet imagery gathered from their equally large fleet of satellites; frequent picture the company provides is the earth’s surface with a lower resolution.

The acquisition of Terra Bella can upgrade the Planet Labs’ imagery because of its capability to capture high-resolution images. This can help the company to look for a more potential customer, as reports revealed that Planet Labs is having a hard time looking for customers in the past due to the lower resolution pictures they offer.

Alphabet has been cutting down its expenses to make way for its self-driving car division Waymo. According to Alphabet, Waymo stands for “new way forward in mobility” which was launched last December 2016. Other cost cutting Google made is the halting of the Google Fiber and Project Loon.

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