Zebra Technologies Corporation announced that it has agreed to acquire all of the shares of WhereNet Corp., a leading global provider of active RFID based wireless solutions to track and manage enterprise assets, for $126 million in cash. The 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 favor of the transaction.
Headquartered in Santa Clara, CA, WhereNet provides integrated wireless Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS) to companies primarily in the industrial manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and aerospace and defense sectors. Founded in 1997, it has more than 150 installations currently in operation helping companies locate and track high-value assets with wireless tags, fixed-position antennas and Web-enabled software. WhereNet solutions are successfully used to increase the accuracy, velocity, efficiency, and security of time-critical processes throughout the supply chain. They are employed in parts replenishment, vehicle inventory tracking, truck yard management, marine cargo tracking, and work-in-process tracking, among many other applications. WhereNet's solutions span hardware, middleware, application software, and services for project management, maintenance and support.
"WhereNet adds another high-growth platform to Zebra's business," stated Edward Kaplan, Zebra's chairman and chief executive officer. "Active RFID is a natural complement to passive RFID and barcoding, two key Zebra strengths, as it enhances our ability to deliver business improvement solutions to customers worldwide. We are very pleased to welcome WhereNet into Zebra and believe this transaction is an important step in building value for our stockholders."
"Combining with Zebra gives WhereNet the resources to expand its global footprint and become the definitive leader in our industry," said Dan Doles, WhereNet's chief executive officer. "We are pleased to become a part of Zebra's larger, stronger organization, which will help us accelerate the market growth for active RFID and RTLS."
Independent industry analysts forecast sales of active RFID systems to increase to $6.8 billion in 2016 from $550 million in 2006, a compound annual growth rate of 29%. Analysts project growth in RTLS to $1.6 billion in 2010 from $15 million in 2005.
Zebra management expects WhereNet to generate sales of approximately $50 million in 2007, up from $36 million in 2006. The acquisition is expected to be minimally dilutive to Zebra's net income in 2007 and be accretive thereafter. Zebra will operate WhereNet as a separate business unit, which will be led by Mr. Doles.
About Zebra Technologies Corporation
Zebra Technologies Corporation delivers innovative and reliable on-demand printing solutions for business improvement and security applications in 100 countries around the world. More than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies use Zebra-brand printers. A broad range of applications benefit from Zebra-brand thermal bar code, "smart" label, receipt, and card printers, resulting in enhanced security, increased productivity, improved quality, lower costs, and better customer service. The company has sold more than 5 million printers, including RFID printer/encoders and wireless mobile solutions, as well as ZebraDesigner label formatting software, ZebraLink connectivity solutions, Genuine Zebra supplies and ZebraCare services and support. Information about Zebra bar code, card and RFID products can be found at http://www.zebra.com.