Google parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is reportedly looking to exit its satellite business by selling its Skybox Imaging unit, which would put an end to its once-ambitious plans to operate a massive global satellite network.
The company had bought Skybox just three years ago, and had planned to leverage the technology to offer internet service around the world with it. Google also wanted to use the technology to help improve the accuracy of its popular Google Maps service.
According to Bloomberg, imaging startup Planet is in talks to buy Skybox, but potential terms weren’t disclosed. The deal could include a talent acquisition as well, where former Googlers would move over to Planet to continue working on the Skybox project, while others would be relocated to other parts of Google’s businesses.
Planet itself has raised $150 million in capital, so it’s hard to imagine Alphabet wouldn’t be taking a big loss on the sale. It’s also worth noting that Skybox and Planet were once huge rivals in the satellite industry, so a merger of the two would have seemed incredibly unlikely just a few years ago.
Alphabet Inc shares was unchanged in premarket trading Tuesday. Year-to-date, GOOGL has gained 4.38%, versus a 1.31% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.