The world’s largest search provider, Google, is reported to be deep in discussion with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to make an investment in the company that would value it somewhere north of $10 billion (R116 billion).
According to the Wall Street Journal, the investment will be around $1 billion (R11.6 billion) – or around 1% of the South African government’s total budgeted expenditure for the year – and would be a part of Google’s efforts to connect the entire world to the internet which, in turn, would allow the company’s customer base to expand.
Google already has giant balloons floating around the world giving off free internet with its project Loon and beat out Facebook, the other major player in providing the world with free internet from the sky, thanks to the acquisition of autonomous drone maker Titan Aerospace early last year.
SpaceX is one of two companies currently contracted by NASA to resupply the International Space Station since the American agency terminated its space shuttle program in 2011 and will also be one of two suppliers to take over crew transportation to the ISS in 2017.
Musk has a history of big internet companies buying his companies having made the beginnings of his fortune when PayPal was bought by eBay in 2002.
In November last year Musk confirmed that he was working together with former Google executive Greg Wyler’s company WorldVu, which Wyler started after leaving Google’s satellite project when he felt it didn’t have the technical expertise to finish getting a fleet satellites into space.