WASHINGTON — Satellite imagery provider Planet Labs plans to go public later this year by merging with a special purpose acquisition company, a transaction valued at $2.8 billion, the businesses announced July 7.

As the owner and operator of a fleet of imaging satellites on orbit, Planet regularly provides imagery and analysis to the U.S. government and has secured a number of contracts with the Department of Defense and intelligence community. The company operates about 200 satellites, which together capture more than 3 million images of the Earth’s surface every day. According to the press release, Planet generated more than $100 million in revenue in fiscal 2020.

Under the deal expected to take place by the end of the year, Planet will merge with special purpose acquisition company dMY Technology Group Inc. IV. Current Planet stockholders will retain 77 percent ownership of the new company. dMY IV will bring in $345 million via its trust account and $200 million in private investment in public equity (PIPE) proceeds, which will be used to fund operations and new initiatives after paying down Planet’s existing debt and transaction expenses. Key investors include Koch Strategic Platforms, TIME Ventures and Google. The company said the merger will enable it to invest in developing additional software and machine learning-enabled data products.

The post-merger company will keep the name Planet and be listed on the New York Stock Exchange as “PL.”

Since its founding in 2010, Planet has made a name for itself as a prominent provider of commercial satellite imagery. As the government has pushed to use more commercial imagery for its needs, the company has scooped up a number of important contracts. The National Reconnaissance Office has a contract with Planet for daily 3-5 meter resolution images, and Planet is one of just a handful of satellite imagery companies awarded study contracts by the agency. In November, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency added Planet data to its Global Enhanced GEOINT Delivery system, a portal that provides unclassified imagery to the federal government and 55 foreign partners.

The announcement follows news earlier this year that BlackSky, another satellite imagery provider with DoD and NRO contracts, was going public via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company.

Nathan Strout covers space, unmanned and intelligence systems for C4ISRNET.

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