MoFo News Item

Morrison & Foerster Advises Satellite Imaging Start-up Planet Labs on the Acquisition of BlackBridge Group

16 Jul 2015

Morrison & Foerster is advising Planet Labs on its acquisition of BlackBridge geospatial companies, including the RapidEye suite of core offerings, as detailed in the press release issued by Planet Labs. With the acquisition of BlackBridge, Planet Labs will have access to an extensive network of over 100 distribution channels and customers globally; and RapidEye’s comprehensive archive of six years of global imagery – 6 billion square kilometers at 5-meter resolution – allowing Planet Labs to bring one of the largest commercial satellite imagery datasets to the web.

Planet Labs, which is valued at $1.1 billion, was established as a start-up company by former NASA employees in San Francisco in 2010. It operates a network of a new generation of earth observation satellites, which collect visual imagery for commercial and humanitarian use. With this acquisition, Planet Labs is securing the Berlin-based "RapidEye" satellite network, operated by BlackBridge. RapidEye was developed in Germany and consists of five earth observation satellites, with the satellite ground station being located in Brandenburg ander Havel.

Morrison & Foerster is advising Planet Labs with a cross-border corporate team led by San Francisco partners Suz Mac Cormac and Eric McCrath and Berlin partner Dirk Besse. Advice was also provided by San Francisco technology transaction partner Rufus Pichler, Berlin technology transaction counsel Kristina Ehle, San Francisco tax partner Bernie Pistillo, Berlin tax partner Jens-Uwe Hinder, Berlin tax counsel Sebastian Kost, Berlin regulatory and antitrust partner Andreas Gruenwald and Berlin employment and data privacy partner Hanno Timner.

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