Satellite data company Spire to go public in latest SPAC space deal

(Reuters) - Satellite data company Spire Global Inc said on Monday it has agreed to go public through a merger with blank-check acquisition firm NavSight Holdings Inc at a $1.6 billion valuation.

It is the latest example of a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merging with a company in the space industry, following deals for the likes of space tourism company Virgin Galactic and rocket startup Astra.

Spire said it expects the deal will provide it with up to $475 million in proceeds. NavSight is providing $230 million of this, with the rest coming from a private investment in public equity (PIPE) transaction.

Investors in the PIPE include Tiger Global Management, BlackRock Inc and the family office of billionaire Barry Sternlicht.

Spire, which was founded nearly a decade ago, helps customers address challenges including climate change. It uses a collection of nanosatellites to garner data and then sells it on to the customers.

The data collected has applications in areas such as weather forecasting, orbital services, and aircraft and ship monitoring. Its customers include NASA, the U.S. air force and Chevron Corp.

“This transaction funds these growth plans and allows us to pursue, on a more aggressive timetable, this massive and growing long-term opportunity ahead of us,” Peter Platzer, Spire’s founder and chief executive, said in a statement.

San Francisco-based Spire expects to generate $70 million in revenue this year, and forecasts that will rise to almost $1.2 billion by 2025.

“Spire is leading the way with its modern SaaS-based (software as a service) approach to meet the significant, growing demand for space-based data,” said NavSight Chairman and CEO Bob Coleman.

NavSight raised $230 million in an initial public offering in New York in September.

Reporting by Joshua Franklin in Boston; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman