Belden acquiring WLAN vendor Trapeze Networks

June 9, 2008
June 9, 2008 -- The $133-million deal, expected to close in early July, adds full-scale wireless networking product lines to Belden's portfolio.

June 9, 2008 -- Belden has entered into an agreement to acquire wireless local area network (WLAN) equipment and software provider Trapeze Networks for $133 million in cash, the companies announced June 6. They expect the deal to close approximately 30 days from the announcement.

"Belden's strategic vision is to provide the best signal-transmission solutions to our customers regardless of technology," said John Stroup, Belden's president and chief executive officer. "We believe the acquisition of Trapeze Networks uniquely positions Belden to offer our enterprise customers tailored connectivity solutions that benefit from blending the strengths of copper, fiber, and wireless technologies. Trapeze Networks Smart Mobile wireless LAN solutions deliver superior performance, security, reliability, and management capabilities, making this a highly attractive wireless investment for Belden's future.

"We believe we are at an inflection point in enterprise wireless LAN expansion, a market that is already growing nearly 25 percent per year, and that wireless connectivity is no longer considered a luxury but is a customer expectation," he added.

Trapeze, privately held and with $56 million in revenue last year and anticipating just about $70 million in revenue this year, is based in Pleasonton, CA. Trapeze sells its wireless LAN products through OEMs and distribution channels, according to a release announcing the acquisition. Trapeze recently landed the University of Minnesota as a customer of its 802.11n equipment in a deal the company claims is the world's largest 11n deployment. In all, more than 4,000 organizations worldwide have deployed Trapeze WLAN equipment, the company says.

According to Trapeze president Jim Vogt, "During the past six years, enterprise customers around the world have invested in Trapeze Networks Smart Mobile because they can depend on it for constant connectivity and reliable mobility. The superior performance and cost benefits of our highly acclaimed wireless LAN products have fueled our global growth through distribution and through our OEM relationships with 3Com, Enterasys, Nortel, and other large networking companies. Our customers can now be assured of continued product innovation and new capabilities from the combined resources of Belden and Trapeze."

In a conference call Monday morning June 9, Belden's Stroup indicated that while Belden and Trapeze currently have few overlapping customers, the vertical markets they target are very similar, creating a situation in which one of the two organizations has opened the door for business to the other.

He referred several times to Trapeze's go-to-market strategy, stating it is an area in which Belden fully anticipates improving Trapeze's position. While discussing the analysis Belden made before the deal, Stroup stated that users "who picked Trapeze clearly picked the technology that was going to be the best fit for their applications. Many who picked others did so because Trapeze today does not have the market-access model that somebody like Cisco might have. That's something Belden might bring to the partnership."

He further commented, "Trapeze is well on its way to being a successful business. With the acquisition, Belden will be the only company with market-leading core technology and signal-transmission products for both wired and wireless networks.

"Our strategic view of the importance of wireless technology goes beyond the enterprise market. Improvements in wireless technology allow wireless systems to be increasingly deployed in mission-critical applications of all types," he added. "Customers increasingly require the benefits of a mixed-media: fiber backbone, copper to the desk, wireless anywhere. Wireless is by far the fastest-growing medium for signal transmission.

"We believe there are fundamental trends toward more universal purchasing of communications and connectivity, and customers will be receptive to a combined offering of market-leading wired and wireless networking technology."

"The wireless medium will likely be the most important decision people make," he added. "It will be favored and beneficial in many applications. As they think about how they wire or connect themselves in a given application, it's our belief that the commingling of wireless with copper and fiber will allow them to have the preferred solution. And we believe Belden, with wireless technology, will be far more advantaged in helping the customer develop that solution than traditional copper and fiber vendors."

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