Alphabet to sell its satellite business to Planet Labs

Backing away from another one of its peripheral missions, Google's parent firm Alphabet Inc. is selling its satellite business Terra Bella to rival firm Planet Labs Inc.

Under the newly announced deal, Planet Labs will buy the satellite-imagery Terra Bella unit and seven satellites of Google. In exchange, Google will receive a stake in the buyer in the form of shares. No further details of the deal, which requires several regulatory approvals, were disclosed.

Google is backing away from its satellite business in order to save money and simplify its business. The sale confirmed the reported negotiations between the two companies that took place last month.

Planet Labs CEO Will Marshall said that images captured by Terra Bella's satellites are 6 times as detailed as those captured by its own network of sixty satellites.

Speaking on the topic, Marshall added, "By scanning the whole world in medium resolution, we can spot changes. And then we can point [Terra Bella's] high-resolution satellites on those changes. So it's very complementary."

Google acquired Terra Bella, which was previously called Skybox Imaging, for $500 million in 2014. The decision to sell the business is the company's latest move to shed some of its bolder bets, and focus on its core business.