Oct 10, 2023

MDA Acquires SatixFy’s Digital Payload Division 

MDA Headquarters (photo by MDA)

MDA is acquiring SatixFy’s digital payload division in a $40 million acquisition to increase its offerings in the digital satellite communications market, the Canadian manufacturer announced Thursday.

SatixFy is headquartered in Israel and is known for developing user terminals and modems and its in-house chipsets. The digital payload division, SatixFy Space Systems UK Ltd., is based in the United Kingdom, and will be integrated into MDA’s existing U.K. subsidiary, MDA UK, to accelerate MDA’s presence in the country.

The deal also includes a $20 million pre-purchase for SatixFy’s next generation digital satellite chipset, bringing the full deal price to $60 million. MDA is funding the deal with cash on hand and from its existing credit facility, and it’s expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

MDA said the deal will strengthen its position in the market for digital satellite communications solutions and the digital payload team will work with its Satellite Systems business in Montreal to advance MDA’s new digital satellite product offering.

“MDA and SatixFy have worked together to advance our digital satellite technology solutions and our teams are well acquainted, highly complementary and collaborative. This acquisition is a natural next step in solidifying and strengthening our market position and addressing customer demand as we continue to capitalize on the growth in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communication market,” commented Mike Greenley, CEO of MDA.

This announcement comes after Telesat switched courses for its Lightspeed LEO constellation, selecting MDA as its manufacturer instead of Thales Alenia Space. MDA was originally supposed to supply an analog beam-forming antenna for the constellation, but Dan Goldberg recently told Via Satellite that advances in MDA’s digital beam-forming antenna was a major reason for the swap.

“The digital beam former is just so much more efficient than the analog one that we had been looking at. It can generate roughly three times the number of beams,” Goldberg told Via Satellite. “MDA had continued investing in the technology and it was now de-risked from a technical standpoint and the performance and thermal profile was much improved from when we had evaluated it some years earlier.”

MDA has had a slew of contract wins in the past year and a half. It’s the prime contractor for Globalstar’s upgraded SPOT constellation to support Apple’s satellite messaging service. MDA is also providing antennas for Lockheed Martin’s work on the Space Development Agency’s Tranche 1 Transport Layer, and has similar deals with York Space Systems and Airbus OneWeb Satellites.

SatixFy said it will focus its space business on being a technology provider to satellite payload design companies, and offer its digital multi-beam forming and beam-hopping on-board-processing radiation hardening chipsets. SatixFy will retain all its related ASIC intellectual property and new chips’ development.

“Today’s announcement … brings SatixFy’s cutting-edge space chipsets into MDA’s digital payloads, representing a strong step forward in the commercialization of our technology,” SatixFy’s acting CEO Nir Barkan commented. “We expect that this transaction will increase our chipset sale into satellite digital payloads and will lead to increased collaboration between MDA and SatixFy in new areas.”