Minneapolis-based ATK has agreed to buy Vancouver-based MDA's information systems and geospatial services businesses, including the satellite and robotics activities, for $1.33 billion in cash.
The acquisition, with requires Canadian and US government approval, will "establish ATK as a full-spectrum international space company, providing launch services, next-generation satellites, robotics and ground systems", the US company says.
MDA is a leader in sythentic-aperture radar Earth-observation satellites, and built Canada's Radarsat-2 satellite, which was launched on 14 December 2007. The Canadian Space Agency contributed funds to build and launch the satellite, but Radarsat-2 will be operated, and its data marketed worldwide, by the business being acquired by ATK.
The acquisition will nearly double ATK's non-US sales, the company says. In addition to the information systems business's established position in the Canadian space and defence markets, ATK says it will provide access to Europe through Canada's involvement with the European Space Agency.
ATK also sees opportunities for the Canadian business's satellite, robotics and networking expertise in the US market, particularly the emerging requirement for "operationally responsive" space systems requiring smaller satellites that can be developed rapidly and launched at short notice.