DigitalGlobe-GeoEye Merger Clears Antitrust Hurdle

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The U.S. Department of Justice has granted antitrust clearance to the merger of commercial satellite imagery providers GeoEye and Digital Globe, a transaction that will make the combined company the only provider of commercial satellite imagery in the U.S.

Shareholders of the two companies, which sell high-resolution satellite imagery to U.S. intelligence and defense agencies, unanimously approved the merger agreement in July last year. The deal is expected to leave Longmont, Colo.-based DigitalGlobe operating the largest fleet of high-resolution Earth imaging satellites orbiting the planet.

Completion of the transaction is still subject to regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“GeoEye is working cooperatively with the FCC and NOAA, and the transaction is expected to close by January 31, 2013,” at which point the company expects to complete a $1.2 billion refinancing that will include a combination of senior notes and senior secured credit facilities, GeoEye said in a Jan. 9 news release.

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