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Mergers and Acquisitions, Oh My!

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Lynn Savage, Features Editor, [email protected]

It has been another eventful year for the photonics industry as companies continue to seek new opportunities, fresh markets and complementary technologies to add to their portfolios. The weakening of overall consumer and industry markets in and Asia is pushing smaller companies to consider buyouts, and larger businesses to exploit cash-strapped but technology-rich firms. The continued percolation in merger and acquisition activity likely will continue so long as the Eurozone (slowly) processes its ongoing financial crises, and as US and China consumers wait and worry over Europe’s condition.

As was the case last year, there were so many relevant mergers and acquisitions this year that we couldn’t print them in their entirety in the annual Photonics Spectra List Issue; instead, we are happy to present the full details here.

Please note that the activities listed below are presented in the order in which we first reported on them and may not reflect the actual closing dates.

JUNE 2011

Electronic and electro-optic components maker GigOptix Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., agreed to acquire Endwave Corp. of San Jose. The latter focuses on radio-frequency solutions and semiconductor products for the wireless mobile and satellite communications, electronic instruments, and defense and security markets. The new company will leverage Endwave’s manufacturing and GigOptix’s high-speed fiber optic technologies.

Radiant Imaging Inc. of Redmond, Wash., which specializes in light and color measurement, and Zemax Development Corp., an optical systems provider, merged to focus on global growth and the expansion of their technology platforms. The merger will enable the companies to create products to meet new global demands in the photonics and optics industries, while operating under their respective brands. Eventually, they will integrate their technologies.

Analog chipmaker austriamicrosystems AG of Unterpremstaetten, Austria, acquired Texas Advanced Optoelectronic Solutions (TAOS) Inc. of Plano, Texas. The latter is a worldwide supplier of light-sensing solutions for the consumer electronics, computer, industrial,medical and automotive markets. The merger is expected to bring together complementary leadership capabilities in the areas of analog mixed-signal design, power management, intelligent sensors and sensor interfaces for intelligent wireless and wired sensor platforms.

OmniVision Technologies Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., agreed to buy the wafer-level lens production operations of VisEra Technologies Co. Ltd. of Hsinchu City, Taiwan,its joint venture with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. OmniVision,which once outsourced production and assembly processes associated with its Camera Cube technology to VisEra, made the acquisition to streamline production,consolidate the supply chain, expand capacity and reduce costs. OmniVision Technologies develops advanced digital imaging solutions for consumer and commercial applications.

JULY 2011

In Texas, Advanced Laser Materials (ALM) LLC of Temple, a supplier of materials for rapid manufacturing, became majority stakeholder in Integra of Round Rock, which offers technical expertise to the laser sintering business. The relationship will enable ALM to transition from providing prototypes to offering complete manufacturing services.

LMI Technologies of Delta, British Columbia, which makes 3-D laser sensors for industrial measurement and control applications, has sold 100 percent of its shares to join Augusta Technologie AG, a Munich-based sensor and vision technology company. Augusta sells digital cameras for machine vision under the Allied Vision Technologies brand. Through Augusta, LMI will expand its distribution channels for its Gocator 3-D measurement sensor. The Canadian company also expects to benefit from the extensive camera technology capabilities to further develop 3-D systems.

GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Co. based in Chalfont St. Giles, UK, has agreed to acquire Applied Precision Inc., a supplier of cellular imaging technologies for biomedical research. The purchase of the Issaquah, Wash., company will allow GE Healthcare to expand its product and service offerings for pharmaceutical and life sciences research.

Engineered materials and optoelectronic components maker II-VI Inc. of Saxonburg, Pa., acquired Aegis Lightwave Inc. of Woburn, Mass., a maker of tunable optical devices.Also included in the sale is Aegis’ subsidiary AOFR, a fused-fiber components company that manufactures optical couplers used primarily in telecom markets.

JDSU of Milpitas, Calif., a maker of optical networking and test and measurement products, acquired product design,intellectual property and other assets from QuantaSol, a concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) technology provider based in the UK.JDSU said it would use QuantaSol’s multiple quantum well technology (QWT) for its own CPV cell product platform. MQW technology allows more light to be converted to electrical power, raising the efficiency of CPV cells.

Newport Corp. acquired Ophir Optronics Ltd. of Jerusalem as well as High-Q Technologies GmbH of Rankweil, Austria. Ophir, which makes infrared optics,laser measurement instrumentation and 3-D noncontact measurement equipment,became the third division of Newport, joining Lasers and Photonics and Precision Technologies. High-Q, which was one of the largest makers of ultrafast lasers in Europe, joined Newport’s Spectra-Physics Lasers Div.

To position itself for continued long-term growth, custom precision optics and optical assemblies manufacturer JML Optical Industries Inc. of Rochester, N.Y., was recapitalized by BB&T Capital Partners, Bob Bicksler and existing management. The company’s founder, Joe Lobozzo, stayed on as both a material shareholder and an adviser to the company. Bicksler assumed the role of CEO, while Gregg Sadwick, Mike McCusker,Valerie Maher, Gerry Lynch and other members of the management team remained in their existing positions to ensure continuity.

Safety,health and sensor technology group Halma plc of Amersham, UK, acquired Avo Photonics Inc. of Horsham, Pa. Avo, which makes miniaturized photonic components and subsystems for OEM customers in various markets, joined Halma’s photonics businesses (Fiberguide Industries, Labsphere, Ocean Optics and Ocean Thin Films) in the Health and Analysis sector.

Thermal imaging systems maker Flir Systems Inc. of Portland, Ore., acquired Aerius Photonics LLC of Ventura, Calif., a provider of short-wavelength infrared (SWIR) detectors and laser components. Aerius designs, develops and manufactures InGaAs-based infrared detectors, high-power vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) diodes, ultralightweight laser rangefinders and altimeters, and infrared illuminators and pointers for commercial and military applications. The company will join Flir’s Commercial Systems business.

GE Lighting acquired Lightech of Tel Aviv, Israel, a privately held lighting technology company that provides LED electronic drivers and halogen transformers to the lighting industry. Based in East Cleveland, Ohio, GE Lighting is engaged in all aspects of lighting technology: R&D, engineering, manufacturing, sales and distribution.


DuPont acquired Innovalight Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., a provider of advanced silicon inks and process technologies that increase the efficiency of crystalline silicon solar cells. Based in Wilmington, Del., DuPont expects the acquisition will enable greater efficiencies and future innovations in solar cell designs.

NDC Infrared Engineering of Irwindale, Calif., acquired the IRM Group of Alleur, Belgium, a manufacturer of high-tech measuring systems for the metals industries. NDC, which is part of precision instrumentation and controls company Spectris plc, manufactures noncontact sensors for the measurement of fat, protein, moisture and continuous web process variables, including film thickness.

LED lighting provider Cree Inc. of Durham, N.C., acquired LED outdoor lighting company Ruud Lighting Inc. of Racine, Wis. The addition allows Cree to increase its access to the LED lighting market and its economies of scale. Ruud Lighting continues to be based in Racine and operates as a subsidiary of Cree’s lighting business.


Navitar Life Sciences Inc., part of Navitar Inc. of Rochester, N.Y., acquired the assets of Modulation Optics of Glen Cove, N.Y. HMC microscope components and systems are used in live-cell imaging applications, and the acquisition enables Navitar to expand its product offering beyond its mainstay ZFL fluorescence imaging optical systems.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. of Waltham, Mass., acquired Intrinsic Bioprobes Inc. of Tempe, Ariz, to enhance its work flow for biomarker research and diagnostics. Intrinsic Bioprobes’ portfolio, including its novel mass spectrometric immunoassay, will enable Thermo Fisher to offer its life sciences research and clinical diagnostics customers an enhanced solution for quantitative protein biomarker detection.

In Massachusetts, Waltham-based PerkinElmer Inc.purchased Caliper Life Sciences Inc. of Hopkinton, a maker of imaging and detection products for life sciences research, diagnostics and environmental markets. The acquisition broadened PerkinElmer’s offerings for molecular,cellular, animal and tissue imaging, and it added a microfluidics platform for genomics and proteomics applications.

Bruker Corp. acquired Center for Tribology Inc. (CETR), a privately held metrology instrumentation maker in Campbell, Calif. CETR’s products help characterize nano-,micro- and macromechanical and tribological properties of materials under harsh environmental conditions such as high and low temperatures, humidity and vacuum.

United Technologies Corp. (UTC) of Hartford, Conn., bought Goodrich Corp. of Charlotte, N.C., to strengthen its position in the aerospace and defense industries. Goodrich is the parent company of Sensors Unlimited Inc., a maker of InGaAs photodiodes, arrays and cameras for near-infrared and short-wave infrared imaging applications.

In Germany, Karlsruhe-based nanopositioning specialist PI (Physik Instrumente) GmbH & Co. KG acquired a majority share in miCos GmbH of Eschbach, a micropositioning and motion control company. The transaction expanded PI’s nano- and micropositioning portfolio. PI-miCos operates as a subsidiary of PI (Physik Instrumente) and is managed by miCos founder Lucius Amelung.

NeoPhotonics Corp. of San Jose, Calif., a maker of photonic integrated circuit (PIC) modules and subsystems for high-speed communications networks, purchased Santur Corp. of Fremont, Calif., a designer and manufacturer of InP-based PIC products. The deal complements NeoPhotonics’ move into the growing market of PIC-based 40- and 100-Gb/s transceiver modules for client-side and data center applications.


Eurazeo Croissance of Paris acquired optoelectronic component maker3S Photonics SAS of Nozay, France, with the purchase of the holdings of Fonds Stratégique d’Investissement. 3S Photonics is a supplier of laser chips,discrete modules and optical components for telecommunications networks.Eurazeo said it will help 3S Photonics consolidate its position in traditional telecom markets and broaden its presence in the industrial laser market.

Advanced materials company Materion Corp. of Mayfield Heights, Ohio, acquired optical thin-film filter maker EIS Optics Ltd. Materion said the deal gives it a manufacturing base in Shanghai from which to better serve its rapidly growing Asian optical coatings businesses and that EIS complements its existing position in thin-film optical filters that serve various markets.


Endoscope manufacturer Optim LLC acquired Precision Endoscopic Technologies of Mentor,Ohio, and renamed it Precision Endoscopic Technologies LLC. It will operate as a division of Optim and will be collocated at its headquarters in Sturbridge, Mass.

Oxford Instruments plc of Abingdon, UK, acquired Platinum Medical Imaging LLC of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and Vacaville, Calif.The company will combine Platinum with OiService, Oxford’s MRI service business in North America.

FEI Inc. of Hillsboro, Ore., bought Till Photonics GmbH of Munich from a German consortium led by Toptica Photonics AG. Till makes digital light microscopes and high-speed imaging systems for live-cell fluorescence microscopy and is now a subsidiary of FEI.


L-3 Communications of New York purchased the Kollmorgen Electro-Optical (KEO) unit of Danaher Corp. for $210 million in cash. Based in Northampton, Mass., KEO develops and manufactures specialized equipment, such as submarine photonics systems and visual landing aids, primarily for the US military and its contractors and allies. KEO became part of L-3’s Integrated Sensor Systems organization and was renamed L-3 KEO.

Affymetrix Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., acquired eBioscience Inc. of San Diego, a privately held flow cytometry and immunoassay reagents company. The transaction was expected to create new commercial opportunities in immunology, oncology, cell and stem cell biology, and diagnostics applications.

Automatic data capture and industrial automation company Datalogic SpA of Bologna, Italy, purchased machine vision technologies provider PPT Vision Inc. Minneapolis-based PPT now operates as a separate company within Datalogic Automation, the industrial automation division of Datalogic Group. The acquisition provides both organizations with stronger global sales channels and additional product development resources.


Leica Microsystems of Wetzlar, Germany, purchased the microscopy and histopathology business of Labindia Instruments Pvt. Ltd., a Delhi, India-based company that has distributed Leica’s products in that country for more than 20 years. The acquisition supports Leica Microsystems’ strategy to expand its operations in India.

Lumen Dynamics Group Inc. of Mississauga, Ontario, sold its Burleigh line of piezoelectric micromanipulators and microscope mounting systems to Thorlabs Inc. of Newton, N.J. The sale was expected to help Lumen focus on its light-based solutions for the cellular imaging, medical and optoelectronics assembly, and UV printing industries.

JDSU acquired Dyaptive Systems of Vancouver, British Columbia, a provider of capacity test products for 2G, 3G and 4Gwireless networks. The Milpitas, Calif., company said it would retain Dyaptive’s employees as well as its offices in Vancouver.

Fused fiber optics components maker Incom Inc. of Charlton, Mass., acquired Vancouver, Wash.-based Paradigm Optics, which manufactures polymer fiber optic devices. The company’s operations were folded into Incom’s; the enterprise manufactures components for scientific, medical, defense and life sciences applications.

AMS Technologies AG acquired Sweden-based Azpect Photonics AB, the largest supplier of lasers, optics, spectroscopy products and OEM components to the Nordic market. Based outside Munich, AMS Technologies provides optical, power and thermal management products to the renewable energy, medical, defense &aerospace, telecom & datacom, research & scientific markets, and various other industrial segments.

Having already recently acquired Till Photonics, FEI Co. of Hillsboro, Ore., added to its portfolio Aspex Corp. of Delmont, Pa., a maker of scanning electron microscopes for environmentally demanding military, industrial and factory floor applications. With the purchase, FEI now owns both the hardware and software that have contributed to its growth in the natural resources market.


In France, 3S Photonics Group of Nozay acquired Manlight SAS of Lannion. 3S Photonics completed the transaction with the help of Eurazeo, which holds 83 percent of the company’s capital. Manlight, which manufactures products for telecommunication transport networks, broadband access networks, and the defense and industrial markets, became a subsidiary of3S Photonics Group.

Electronic instruments maker Ametek Inc. of Berwyn, Pa., acquired privately held Technical Manufacturing Corp. of Peabody, Mass., a manufacturer of vibration-isolation systems and optical test benches used to isolate sensitive instruments such as scanning electron microscopes and ultraprecision machine tools. The company became part of Ametek Electronic Instrument Group’s Ultra Precision Technologies Div., which develops measurement instruments, machine tools and manufacturing systems for the semiconductor, photovoltaic, nanotechnology, military and ophthalmic lens markets.

To strengthen its European presence, the recently merged Radiant Zemax LLC acquired its UK-based distributor, Optima Research Ltd. Based in Stansted Mountfitchet, the latter continues to operate as the European office for sales and support of Zemax’s optical and illumination design software for flat panel display and LED manufacturers.

MARCH 2012

Excelitas Technologies of Waltham, Mass., acquired Carsan Engineering of Golden, Colo., a manufacturer of arc lamp power supplies for the medical and dental markets. The transaction increased the array of power supplies in Excelitas’ portfolio of lighting products for medical and dental OEMs.

Masimo Corp. of Irvine, Calif., acquired the assets of LED maker Spire Semiconductor LLC of Hudson, N.H. Masimo Semiconductor Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Masimo Corp., operates the business now, providing wafer epitaxy, foundry services and device fabrication for consumer products and biomedical and telecommunications markets.

In California, Oclaro Inc. of San Jose purchased optical modules and components maker Opnext Inc. of Fremont, making the combined company the largest supplier of laser diodes for industrial and consumer applications. Oclaro was created in 2009 through the combination of Bookham and Avanex. In mid-2009,Oclaro acquired the Spectra-Physics high-power laser diodes business from Newport Corp., while selling the latter its New Focus line.

APRIL 2012

Scientific instruments maker Bruker Corp. acquired all the shares of SkyScan NV of Kontich, Belgium, a supplier of microcomputed tomography systems for 3-D x-ray imaging. The company, renamed Bruker microCT NV, continues to produce micro-CT instruments under the SkyScan brand from its premises in Belgium under its previous management.

Idex Corp.of Lake Forest, Ill., bought optical components maker Precision Photonics Corp.of Boulder, Colo. PPC, which specializes in optical components and coatings for scientific research, aerospace, telecommunications and electronics manufacturing applications, will operate in Idex’s Optics and Photonics platform within the Health and Science Technologies segment, joining Semrock,CVI Melles Griot and ATFilms, which were all acquired in 2011.

Newport Corp. further expanded its capabilities in photonics test and measurement by acquiring ILX Lightwave Corp. of Bozeman, Mont. ILX, which became a wholly owned subsidiary of Newport, operates as part of Newport’s Photonics and Precision Technologies Div.

JAI A/S of Copenhagen, Denmark, acquired TVI Vision Oy of Helsinki,strengthening its position in the prism-based line-scan camera industry. TVI Vision, a manufacturer of line-scan cameras for industrial machine vision applications, will continue to operate as an independent entity under the umbrella of JAI, with its own sales channel and production base in Finland.

MAY 2012

Tessera Technologies’ Digital Optics Corp. of San Jose, Calif., purchased the camera module manufacturing brand and assets of Flextronics International Ltd. of Singapore. The deal allows the company to significantly increase its imaging technology sales by making about 50 million camera modules a year.

In Newton, N.J., Thorlabs Inc. acquired the Octavius line of ultrafast lasers and ultrafast pulse characterization products from Idesta Quantum Electronics (IQE). The transaction is expected to strengthen Thorlabs’ portfolio with lasers and diagnostic tools for the imaging and photonics industries, and to allow IQE to focus on other technology. IQE’s two-dimensional scanning interferometer also was included in the transfer to Thorlabs.

Synopsys Inc. acquired RSoft Design Group Inc. of Ossining, N.Y., a photonics design and simulation software provider. Based in Mountain View, Calif., Synopsys started its expansion into the optics market in 2010 with the purchase of Optical Research Associates. RSoft’s software is used to design and optimize optical telecommunications components and to simulate complete telecommunications systems and networks.

In Germany, Karlsruhe-based PI (Physik Instrumente)concluded it acquisition of Eschenbach-based miCos GmbH by assuming the sales,distribution and servicing of the latter’s products for the US, Mexico and Canada, and renaming Micos USA, Micronix USA. The renamed company will continue to support products developed by Micos USA; all other miCos GmbH products are now marketed globally under the new PI miCos brand name.

Photonics Spectra
Aug 2012
The science of measurement, particularly of lengths and angles.
coatingsCommunicationsConsumerdefenseenergyFeaturesindustrialmetrologyMicroscopySensors & Detectors

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