On February 11, US-based rideshare launch provider Spaceflight Industries announced the signing of an agreement with Japanese company Mitsui & Co. in partnership with Yamasa Co., Ltd, to sell its satellite rideshare launch business.
The acquisition transaction will now undergo review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) which evaluates the national security aspects of foreign direct investment in the U.S. economy. The review process takes several months, and the companies anticipate the deal to be approved in the second quarter of 2020. Upon regulatory approval, Spaceflight will continue to operate as an independent U.S.-based company, with a 50/50 joint venture ownership stake by Mitsui & Co. and Yamasa.
Spaceflight headquarters will remain in Seattle with Curt Blake continuing to serve as the CEO and president, reporting to a newly formed board of directors established with a majority of U.S.-based persons. The parent company, Spaceflight Industries, will leverage the capital from this agreement to focus on the accelerated growth of BlackSky, its geospatial intelligence business.
“This is an exciting and monumental development for Spaceflight Industries, especially for our launch business,” stated Blake. “The acquisition provides an opportunity to be a part of a high-growth international portfolio, which offers deep expertise and investment opportunities. Spaceflight remains committed to our mission of providing comprehensive launch services that enable routine, reliable and affordable access to space. Our biggest priority, as always, is ensuring all of our customers are fully supported, including both commercial entities and U.S. government agencies; we’re currently taking steps to establish the necessary infrastructure and enhanced services to meet their needs.”
“Spaceflight has established itself as an influential company in the space industry, making rideshare a credible and reliable option for smallsat launches,” Tomohiro Musha, general manager of aerospace systems & rail leasing division in Mitsui & Co., said. “The acquisition of an industry leader is an optimal way for Mitsui & Co. to enter the space industry and expand its business by offering greater access for customers considering utilizing services related to space. Spaceflight has demonstrated its ability to push boundaries and achieve success and we are eager to bring them into the Mitsui & Co. portfolio.”