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Even Without Google, DigitalGlobe Will Continue to Grow

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Google (GOOG - Get Report) will be able to generate the images for Google Maps itself, thanks to the acquisition it announced this week. That should be bad news for DigitalGlobe (DGI - Get Report) which supplies pictures for Google Maps, right? Wrong.

Google is not one of DigitalGlobe's major customers. The company gets more than 80% of its revenue from government agencies.

For the current year, DigitalGlobe has forecast revenue growth of between 3% and 8% from 2013. The company is aiming for Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) margins of at least 50% in the fourth quarter, up from 39.4% in the first quarter.

The U.S. government has permitted DigitalGlobe to sell its sharpest satellite images to all of its customers. Meanwhile, the company is gearing up to launch a new imagery satellite within two months. Those two developments will easily offset any possible decline in Google revenue.

On Tuesday, when Google announced it has agreed to acquire Skybox Imaging for $500 million, DigitalGlobe's shares dropped by 4%. The company's shares still haven't fully recovered, trading at $30.25, up 16 cents, late Friday morning.

Skybox Imaging provides high-resolution satellite images and videos. Through the acquisition, Google aims to bolster its Google Earth and Maps offerings, such as the Google Earth Enterprise, and to provide high-speed Internet and disaster relief services.

The search engine giant gets the images for Google Maps from more than a thousand different sources, including DigitalGlobe. The Skybox acquisition will reduce Google's reliance on DigitalGlobe. On the flip side, DigitalGlobe might end up losing a high-profile customer.

DigitalGlobe is a 20-year old company valued at $2.28 billion. It was a much smaller company until January 2013, when it completed an $1.4 billion acquisition of GeoEye, another company that provides satellite images.

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