Kathrein segment acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of this year
Ericsson is bolstering its 5G antennas portfolio, announcing its plans to acquire German company Kathrein’s antenna and filters unit for an undisclosed sum. The purchase will bring about 4,000 additional employees to Ericsson, to complement its in-house team for antenna and filter development, production and sales.
Ericsson is making the purchase via an asset deal, and it is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. Preliminary revenues from the antenna and filters segment were about 270 million Euros in 2018, Ericsson reported — a figure that does not include Kathrein’s sales to Ericsson. After the transaction closes, the business will be run as a separate unit in Ericsson’s Business Area Networks, and Ericsson expects it to make a positive contribution to its 2020 profitability targets.
In explaining the rationale for the purchase, Ericsson noted that antennas now need to support multiple frequencies and multiple technologies, even as radios and antennas are being consolidated. 5G, which includes antenna arrays, beamforming and beamsteering, is impacting antenna technology even further. The network equipment and software vendor went on to add that Kathrein’s antenna and filters operation “has a strong [research and development] organization with extensive experience in antenna design and research, coupled with a strong [intellectual property rights] portfolio. In addition to broadening Ericsson’s portfolio of antenna and filter products, the acquisition will bring vital competence for the evolution of advanced radio network products.”
The employees from Kathrein are located in about 20 places around the world, Ericsson said, including Germany, the U.S., China, Mexico and Romania.
“Strengthening our in-house antenna competence is another important step in our networks portfolio strategy,” said Fredrik Jejdling, EVP and head of Business Area Networks. “The acquisition of Kathrein’s antenna and filters business will expand our capabilities and competences in the advanced active and passive antenna domain further. With the additional focus on the antenna and filter business led by Kathrein professionals, we will broaden our offering to further optimize site space, which is vital for the introduction of 5G.”
Kathrein has focused on small cell antennas in recent years and offers some unique design features in its solutions, including remote electrical tilt for small cell antennas; it has also developed small cell nodes that can be placed underneath streets in manholes.