The network test and measurement space is one where significant consolidation has been occurring over the years, or where major international companies such as Danaher (owner of testing companies Fluke Networks and Tektronix) and Cobham plc have made purchases in order to extend or expand their footprint in the telecom industry.
There were a series of significant purchases in 2010, and 2014 is seeing another uptick in network test and measurement acquisitions. Here are some of the major deals in 2014:
- The biggest public deal so far this year has been Cobham’s purchase of test and measurement company Aeroflex for $1.46 billion, announced in May and expected to close in the third quarter. The Aeroflex purchase extends Cobham’s foothold in the wireless industry, and follows on its acquisition of DAS vendor Axell Wireless in 2013. Cobham, based in the U.K., does about half of its business in the U.S. market.
- Aeroflex itself had been making purchases before Cobham snapped it up. In February, it bought Dublin, Ireland-based Shenick Network Systems, paying $27.1 million for the company and its technology in virtualized testing for software-defined networking.
- Tektronix kicked off 2014 with the purchase of Boulder, Colo.-based Picosecond Pulse Labs in January to strengthen its offerings in testing instruments for 100G/400G applications.
Of particular interest are the acquisitions that add more analytics capabilities to test and measurement companies. This is an area that has been gaining increasing investment, particularly by companies like EXFO.
- In April, EXFO purchased privately held software company Bytesphere for an undisclosed amount in order to expand its offerings in network monitoring and IT management.
- Two months later, EXFO bought Aito Technologies, which provides user experience analytics for mobile operators. EXFO said it planned to combine Aito’s software with its own products, including its passive probes, to provide better end-to-end visibility.
- In the same vein, network performance assurance company Empirix announced just this week that it is buying Verios Software & Systems, which specializes in radio access network (RAN) management with a big-data analytics approach. Empirix provides network testing, monitoring and analytics and is backed by private equity investment firm Thoma Bravo, after being bought by that company last year.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, but still a significant development in the market, is the spinoff that Agilent Technologies is doing of its network test and measurement business. Agilent expects the new Keysight Technologies company to be fully separated in November, and Keysight began functioning as a wholly owned subsidiary of Agilent earlier this month.
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