SpaceX will acquire satellite data start-up Swarm Technologies, in a rare deal by Elon Musk’s space company that expands the capabilities of its growing Starlink internet service.
Swarm, which has 120 SpaceBEE satellites in orbit, reached an agreement with SpaceX on July 16 to merge, according to an Aug. 6 filing with the Federal Communications Commission.
The company will become “a direct wholly-owned subsidiary of SpaceX upon consummation of the Proposed Transaction,” Swarm wrote in the filing.
The deal marks an unusual acquisition for SpaceX, which tends to design and build systems in-house. But FCC licenses can be difficult and time-consuming to get approved, and Swarm will transfer control of of its satellite and ground station licenses to SpaceX as part of the deal, according to the filing.
Terms and financial details about the deal were not disclosed. SpaceX and Swarm did not respond to requests for comment. Swarm last completed a fundraising round in January 2019 at a $85 million valuation, according to Pitchbook.