M&A activity is heating up once again in the RFID sector. Last week Motorola Solutions announced it is purchasing Psion for about $200 million. Also this month, Stanley Healthcare Solutions, a division of Stanley Black & Decker, announced a deal to acquire AeroScout for an undisclosed amount.
The Psion deal gives Motorola a stronger entry into the rugged handheld products and vehicle-mount terminals in the industrial and distribution sectors that Psion holds a strong niche in. The acquisition also broadens Motorola Solutions’ geographic reach since Psion — which had sales of $273 million (US) in 2011 — has customers in more than 50 countries. The deal is expected to close during the fourth quarter.
“Psion is a compelling opportunity to strengthen our industry-leading, mobile-computing portfolio with ruggedized handheld products and vehicle-mount terminals that will deepen our presence in the global markets in which we compete,” says Greg Brown, chairman and CEO of Motorola Solutions.
The Motorola and Stanley deals will likely signal a crescendo of merger activity as RFID adoption strengthens.
Those familiar with the industry say that other players like Danaher, Tyco, Trimble or Cisco could get into the RFID game on a bigger scale by scooping up established companies.
“Large companies are finally coming to the realization that solutions sell,” says Patrick Sweeney, CEO and founder of ODIN RFID, which got into the M&A game when it purchased REVA Systems in late 2010, giving it an entry into the burgeoning healthcare solutions market.
“Motorola will need to get in the RTLS and API/Platform space to really have a hundred million dollar business in RFID,” says Sweeney. “Stanley gets that – but they are missing passive. If you look at all the really successful healthcare applications, they are hybrid – passive and active – which is where the industry is going. The next smart move for Stanley is to acquire a passive platform to marry with AeroScout. If they don’t do that, Awarepoint, with their new funding, will beat them to the market.”
Awarepoint raised $14 million in venture funding earlier this month.