Spire Global acquiring exactEarth

Flush with cash and a publicly-trading stock through a successful SPAC, Spire Global announced today it is acquiring maritime-tracking company exactEarth.  The deal is valued at around $161 million in a combination of cash and stock.

Once completed, Cambridge, Ontario-based exactEarth will be a fully owned subsidiary of Spire, with exactEarth CEO Peter Mabson reporting directly to Spire CEO Peter Platzer.

“Peter and I share a vision about the opportunity for space-based maritime data and the digitalization of the global maritime industry, and I look forward to pursuing that vision together,” said Peter Platzer, Spire’s CEO. “I have great respect for the highly experienced team at exactEarth and am excited to continue driving this digital transformation together, serving more customers with a more robust data and solutions platform.”

The Spire press release “implies” that it is paying around 9.1x exactEarth’s “Enterprise Value to LTM revenue,” so exactEarth might have 12 month average revenues in the neighborhood of $10 million or more.  Today’s acquisition increases Spire’s customer base by over 75 percent, with exactEarth bringing over 150 customers to Spire’s books. Spire sees additional sales opportunities in exactEarth’s customer base by cross-selling its data and analytics properties to more commercial and government customers. 

It also gets a minority indirect ownership stake in IoT provider Myriota through the acquisition. Australian-based Myriota is one of two companies building low-cost, low-power satellite IoT networks, so there could be additional opportunities in combining Myriota solutions with Spire’s growing portfolio of services and potentially adding IoT data pickup to Spire satellites in the future or building dedicated satellites for them in the future, increasing Myriota revisit rates and saving them money.

Spire also gets a 10 year archive of AIS ship tracking data, which can be used to “accelerate” in-house AI/ML product development and exactEarth’s sales team, which has customers in 39 countries around the world.

Does Spire have other acquisitions under consideration? Given the company’s “Space-as-a-Service” philosophy and desire to increase its portfolio and add to its revenue base, there are likely a few more companies being examined. Spire’s main strengths beyond cash and stock is its in-house satellite manufacturing capabilities, purchasing power with launch brokers given its regular refresh cadence, and an established cloud infrastructure to manage satellites and collect data.

Doug Mohney

Doug Mohney, a principal at Cidera Analytics, has been working and writing about IT and satellite industries for over 20 years. His real world experience including stints at two start-ups, a commercial internet service provider that went public in 1997 for $150 million and a satellite internet broadband company. Follow him on Twitter at DougonTech or contact him at dmohney139 (at) gmail (dot) com.

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