GeoEye Inc., which operates imaging satellites, on Friday launched a hostile takeover bid for rival DigitalGlobe Inc., offering $792 million for the company.

DigitalGlobe shares rose $2.33, or 17 percent, to $15.85 in morning trading.

GeoEye, which is based in Herndon, Va., said it had held talks with DigitalGlobe over several months, apparently without reaching an agreement.

GeoEye is offering $17 per share in a mix of cash and stock, but said it was open to structuring an all-cash deal or increasing the offer by including more stock.

DigitalGlobe, of Longmont, Colo., had no immediate comment on the offer. It stock traded higher than $17 as recently as February.

GeoEye's shares rose $1.20, or 5 percent, to $25.23.

GeoEye has a smaller market capitalization than DigitalGlobe, making it a somewhat unlikely acquirer, but it has higher revenue and is profitable.

DigitalGlobe has four satellites, and lost $27 million on $339.5 million in revenue last year.

GeoEye has two satellites and had net income of $46.9 million on $356.4 million in revenue last year.