SpaceX has decided to acquire Swarm Technologies, a startup known for its chain of compact satellites, which are used to power the Internet of Things (IoT) concept. Swarm has 120 SpaceBEE-type compact satellites in orbit, according to a filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on August 6 this year. The source says the startup reached a merger agreement with SpaceX back on July 16.
Swarm has issued a media statement saying that the startup will become a direct subsidiary of SpaceX following the closure of this alleged deal. So far, the financial side of this takeover has not been discussed. According to Pitchbook, the market value of Swarm reached $ 85 million after another round of funding, which took place in January 2019.
A deal of this kind is rather atypical for SpaceX, as Elon Musk usually prefers to design and build a wide variety of systems on his own. But obtaining a license from the FCC is a long and relatively difficult and time-consuming process, and Swarm, under the terms of the deal, relinquishes control of its satellite and ground station licenses.
It is not yet known how SpaceX intends to use the assets of the start-up company Swarm, because the satellites of the Starlink global network work in a completely different way than the small SpaceBEE.