World News: Zebra Technologies acquires WhereNet for $126m

World News:  Zebra Technologies acquires WhereNet for $126m

Zebra Technologies has agreed to acquire all of the shares of WhereNet Corp, a global provider of active RFID-based wireless solutions to track and manage enterprise assets.

The $126 million cash transaction is expected to close by the end of January, and is subject to WhereNet shareholder approval and expiration of the H-S-R waiting period on January 13, 2007.

Zebra has voting agreements from WhereNet shareholders representing more than 85% of the voting stock to vote in favour of the transaction.

Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Santa Clara, California, WhereNet provides integrated wireless Real-Time Locating Systems (RTLS) to companies primarily in the industrial manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and aerospace and defence sectors. WhereNet has more than 150 installations currently in operation.

According to Zebra’s chairman & COE Edward Kaplan, active RFID is a natural complement to passive RFID and barcoding, two key Zebra strengths.

Independent industry analysts forecast sales of active RFID systems will increase from $550 million in 2006 to $6.8 billion in 2016 – a compound annual growth rate of 29%. Sales of RTLS are forecast to increase from $15 million in 2005 to $1.6 billion in 2010.

Zebra will operate WhereNet as a separate business unit, which is expected to generate sales of approximately $50 million in 2007, up from $36 million in 2006.

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