Newport Corp. of Irvine, Calif., has announced the signing of a merger agreement with Kensington Laboratories Inc. of Richmond, Calif. Under the terms of the agreement, Kensington would be incorporated into Newport's Industrial and Scientific Technologies Div., which produces components and systems based on submicron motion control technologies. Kensington holds more than 20 patents in robotics and motion control, and produces systems for optical fiber alignment and semiconductor wafer handling. Robert Phillippy, vice president and general manager of the Newport division, said that Kensington's robots for handling 300-mm wafers would accent Newport's integrated subsystems for semiconductor manufacturers. The companies expect the deal to be completed in the first quarter of 2001, pending regulatory approval.