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Swiss wireless firm buys Sweden’s connectBlue for $28m

19 May, 2014

The Swiss wireless specialist u-blox is buying connectBlue, the Swedish supplier of short-range industrial radio modules, for SEK185m ($28m). U-blox says that the acquisition will enhance its portfolio of positioning and cellular wireless communications systems with short-range communication products that cater for the fast-growing Internet of Things market.

In 2013, connectBlue’s worldwide sales were worth SEK 85m ($12.9m). Its customers include ABB, Schneider Electric and Phoenix Contact. U-blox expects the acquired business to generate revenues of around CHF 9m ($10.1m) and an EBIT of CHF 1m ($112,000) during the rest of 2014.

U-blox adds that the “strategic” move will broaden its module offering, bringing within reach millions of devices connected to the internet. Key potential applications include industrial machine-to-machine (M2M), medical equipment, data acquisition, vehicle-monitoring and asset-tracking systems.

ConnectBlue’s operation in Malmö, Sweden, will become u-blox’s new product centre for short-range radio.

“The Internet of Things requires end-to-end connectivity to allow powerful applications to manage mission- and business-critical devices, such as health monitoring and point-of-sales terminals, factory automation and vehicle sensors,” says u-blox CEO, Thomas Seiler. “ConnectBlue’s short-range radio technology, combined with our comprehensive line of cellular modems and satellite positioning receivers, allow us to provide a complete communication solution for thousands of existing and future applications.”

ConnectBlue has pioneered many short-range industrial communications technologies

“This merger with u-blox gives our customers a rich choice of highly-reliable, industrial-grade wireless connectivity solutions to the last mile, as well as to the last metre,” adds connectBlue CEO, Rolf Nilsson. “Our combined portfolio provides a lower-cost and more reliable alternative to cable, copper and fibre used in factories, vehicles and outdoor installations. We are excited to join forces with u-blox to help build a wireless world.”

ConnectBlue, established in 2000, has a portfolio of industrial-grade modules that support Bluetooth and IEEE 802.11 / Wi-Fi standards, thus providing the last hundreds of metres of connections between the Internet and equipment. The company has its own Bluetooth stack and software drivers for Wi-Fi modules, critical intellectual property that makes its products reliable in demanding applications.

U-blox provides wireless and positioning semiconductors and modules for the industrial, automotive and consumer markets. Its systems allow people, vehicles and machines to locate their exact position and to communicate wirelessly via voice, text or video.

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