SpaceDev Agrees to $38M Acquisition by Nevada Firm

Less than two weeks after the death of its founder, Jim Benson, San Diego-based SpaceDev (OTCBB: SPDV) has announced that it’s inked a deal to be acquired by a privately held Nevada firm, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), for $38 million in cash.

SpaceDev blasted into the headlines in 2004, when its hybrid rocket engine technology helped Burt Rutan and his SpaceShipOne—the first commercial reusable manned spacecraft—win the $10 million Ansari X-Prize. The company has also produced Internet-controlled microsatellites, actuators for the Mars rover, and a host of other space technologies. SNC, which after certain deductions will pay between $0.68 and $0.72 per share for the firm, a premium of 42 percent to 50 percent over the stock’s price a month ago, plans to form an integrated space technologies unit by combining its subsidiary, MicroSat Systems, and its other space operations with SpaceDev. (SNC also has operations in electronics, avionics, communications, and other industries.)

SpaceDev shareholders must approve the acquisition, and are expected to vote on it in December. A group of SpaceDev officers and principal shareholders, who together own about 37 percent of the company’s common stock, have already agreed to the transaction.

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