Google is reportedly planning to sell-off its satellite subsidiary company Terra Bella, rebranded just last year from Skybox Imaging. The search giant acquired Skybox Imaging in 2014 for a consideration of $500 million with the aim of providing up-to-date imagery, which could be used for disaster relief. Alphabet also hoped to improve Internet access with the help of its subsidiary but, as apparent from the halt of Google Fiber expansion as well, it seems to have moved away from its previous ambitions.
Alphabet is seen switching from its strategy of developing its own satellite operations to investing in other companies that are pursuing similar goals, as pointed out in a Bloomberg report. Planet, a satellite imaging startup that was previously known as Planet Labs, is reportedly being seen as the frontrunner for the acquisition of Terra Bella currently.
However, representatives from both Alphabet and Planet have denied commenting on the topic as of now. The sale of Terra Bella is believed to be an equity transaction, which effectively means that Alphabet will own stake in Planet after the sale is complete, Bloomberg says on the information provided by the people who are familiar with the matter.
Skybox Imaging worked under Google Maps division and its mini fridge sized satellites stitched together several images of a specific area in order to produce a high resolution image of that area, as pointed out by 9to5Google. Other uses from the subsidiary included tracking cargo at ports as well as cars in parking lots in order to estimate sales.