Technicians put the final touches on the second of three Radarsat Constellation Mission satellites at the MDA facility on June 21, 2018 in Montreal. A Toronto-based investment firm has signed a $1-billion deal to buy the Canadian space technology company behind Radarsat Earth-observation satellites and the Canadarm robotic mechanisms on the International Space Station. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Technicians put the final touches on the second of three Radarsat Constellation Mission satellites at the MDA facility on June 21, 2018 in Montreal. A Toronto-based investment firm has signed a $1-billion deal to buy the Canadian space technology company behind Radarsat Earth-observation satellites and the Canadarm robotic mechanisms on the International Space Station. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Canadian group to repatriate Canadarm company in $1-billion deal with Maxar

The group sees significant growth potential for MDA under its new ownership.

A Toronto-based investment firm has signed a $1-billion deal to buy the Canadian space technology company behind Radarsat Earth-observation satellites and the Canadarm robotic mechanisms on the International Space Station.

A consortium led by Northern Private Capital with financial backing from former BlackBerry co-chief executive Jim Balsillie will acquire all Canadian and U.K. operations of the former MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates.

The group says MDA’s corporate headquarters will return to Canada, where it employs more than 1,900 people.

MDA’s headquarters and largest operations had been in the Vancouver area until Maxar Technologies was created to allow MDA’s acquisition of Colorado-based DigitalGlobe, a producer of high-resolution Earth-imagery products.

The deal to repatriate MDA’s Canadian operations will be financed by a number of sources including NPC, which is led by John Risley and Andrew Lapham, as well as Balsillie and Senvest Capital, Scotiabank and Bank of Montreal.

The group sees significant growth potential for MDA under its new ownership.

“As a Canadian, I am so proud this iconic Canadian company will once again be owned and controlled in Canada,” Risley said in a statement.

Northern Private Capital says the acquisition of MDA is expected to close in 2020 following regulatory approvals.

VIDEO: Eagle feather from B.C. flew to space with Canadian astronaut

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