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Report: Facebook to acquire drone maker

5:22 PM, Mar 4, 2014   |    comments
(AP file)
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(USA TODAY) Facebook is in talks to acquire a drone manufacturer to help blanket parts of the world without Internet, according to TechCrunch.

The acquisition of Titan Aerospace is valued at $60 million, an unnamed source "with access to information about the deal," said.

Titan Aerospace was founded in 2012 and designs, builds and operates solar atmospheric satellites. The company has research and development facilities in Moriarty, N.M.

According to the report, the company would start by building 11,000 unmanned aerial vehicles, most likely its Solara 60 model.

The Solara 60 can carry up to 250 pounds and uses batteries charged from solar panels to ascend. The UAV can maintain an altitude of 65,000 feet and potentially remain there for five years without needing to land or refuel, Titan Aerospace said.

At his keynote address for Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, last week Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spread the mission of Internet.org, which hopes to break down the barriers that make Internet access in the world so challenging.

Zuckerberg believes extending Internet access would create more than 140 million new jobs and lift 160 million people out of poverty.

He also said the social networking site would "probably done for a while," when it comes to acquisitions after Facebook purchased WhatsApp for $16 billion.

Neither Facebook nor Titan Aerospace responded to requests for comment.

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