Buiness roundup: Google buying satellite company; AIG names next CEO

June 10
TECHNOLOGY
Google buying satellite company

Google said Tuesday that it is acquiring the satellite company Skybox Imaging for $500 million in cash, the Internet giant’s ­second high-profile acquisition of an aerospace company this year.

Google said that Skybox’s satellites will provide images for Google’s online mapping service. Google, the world’s No. 1 Internet search engine, said that Skybox’s technology could also eventually be used to provide Internet access and help with disaster relief.

The acquisition of the five-year-old company comes as Google and rival Facebook are racing to snap up satellite and drone companies in an expensive effort to expand the reach of their businesses.

In April, Google acquired Titan Aerospace, a New Mexico-based maker of solar-powered drones, for an undisclosed sum. Google also has launched a small network of balloons designed to deliver Internet access over the Southern Hemisphere.

Facebook, the world’s largest Internet social network, announced in March that it had created a special “connectivity lab” project tasked with developing satellites, drones and other technology that could be used to connect people in underdeveloped parts of the world to the Internet.

Skybox has built satellites packed with sensors and camera electronics that take high-
resolution images and video of Earth but which it says are smaller and lighter than traditional satellites. The company, based in Mountain View, Calif., has launched one satellite and had planned to send up a constellation of 24 satellites, according to the company’s Web site.

“The time is right to join a company who can challenge us to think even bigger and bolder, and who can support us in accelerating our ambitious vision,” Skybox said.

— Reuters

INSURANCE
AIG picks new CEO from within

American International Group said that it has named Peter Hancock as its new chief executive, effective Sept. 1.

Hancock, head of the insurer’s global property-casualty business, will succeed Robert Benmosche, who is retiring.

Hancock joined AIG in 2010 and has headed the company’s property-casualty business since March 2011. Before joining AIG, he was vice chairman of KeyCorp. Earlier, he was chief financial officer at JPMorgan Chase.

“As AIG enters a time of great change and opportunity, we are confident that Peter Hancock is uniquely qualified to lead the company and its employees to future success,” Robert Miller, AIG’s chairman, said.

Benmosche, who has been with AIG since 2009, is credited with steering the company through the financial crisis. During his tenure, AIG fully repaid the $182.3 billion in government support it received in 2008 to stave off bankruptcy.

Benmosche was diagnosed with cancer in late 2010.

While he was at the helm, AIG’s stock more than doubled to Tuesday’s close of $55.01 a share on the New York Stock Exchange.

— Reuters

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