Acquisitions and rumors of acquisitions plus a partnership thrown into the mix. First Emerson, then Honeywell, then SAP and then news of Rockwell/Cisco partnership.

While we were at the Emerson Fisher Innovation Center Grand Opening, it was announced that Emerson Electric Corp. CEO David Farr (who was on the program) could not attend because he was in London working out the details of an acquisition. Some control and automation people there lept to the wrong conclusion. He’s not buying an automation company, but a company in the power and energy field–Chloride. That company had spurned an earlier offer, but evidently Farr was not dissuaded.

Honeywell Acquires Matrikon

Honeywell announced it has signed an agreement valued at approximately $142 million USD (approximately $145 million CAD) to acquire Matrikon Inc., a company specializing in software that helps industrial manufacturers operate their plants safely, reliably and efficiently. Honeywell expects the acquisition to strengthen its position in the oil and gas and power value chains and increase its global footprint in key regions. The transaction is subject to approval by Matrikon’s shareowners.Matrikon will be integrated into Honeywell Process Solutions, which is part of Honeywell’s Automation and Control Solutions business group.

One of my colleagues wrote about the OPC side of the acquisition–MatrikonOPC is a leading provider of OPC technology to developers. But Matrikon is also a solid company in asset management and condition monitoring. These are both technologies that Honeywell Process Solutions certainly can use. The OPC is a side benefit.

Commenting on the acquisition, Norm Gilsdorf, president of Honeywell Process Solutions, said, “Our industrial customers want their plants to run well in any economy, and Matrikon’s products help do that. Combining Matrikon’s technology and expertise with Honeywell’s industrial platform expands our offering to help customers continue to improve plant performance. This is a great addition to our business.”

Matrikon will bring to Honeywell complementary applications that monitor oil and gas well performance and mining equipment, as well as supply chain solutions for mining. Matrikon’s cyber-security and alarm management solutions also align with Honeywell’s solutions for process safety and security.

SAP Goes Mobile

SAP and Sybase Inc. announced that SAP’s subsidiary, SAP America Inc., has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire Sybase in a transaction that will bring the two information technology (IT) companies together to enable companies to become better-run “unwired enterprises.” Under the terms and conditions of the merger agreement, SAP America, Inc., will make an all cash tender offer for all of the outstanding shares of Sybase common stock at $65.00 per share, representing an enterprise value of approximately $5.8 billion.

The per share purchase price represents a 44% premium over the three-month average stock price of Sybase. The transaction will be funded from SAP’s cash on hand and a €2.75 billion loan facility arranged and underwritten by Barclays Capital and Deutsche Bank.The Sybase board of directors has unanimously approved the transaction. The closing of the tender offer is conditioned on the tender of a majority of the outstanding shares of Sybase’s common stock on a fully diluted basis and clearance by the relevant antitrust authorities. 

Both SAP and Sybase expect to benefit from synergies across product lines and markets. SAP will accelerate the reach of its solutions across mobile platforms and drive forward the realization of its in-memory computing vision. SAP hopes this will drive higher user adoption of its software and unlock significant business value out of existing customer investments. In addition, Sybase’s mobile platform can connect all applications and data (SAP and non-SAP) and enable them on mobile devices. SAP, Sybase and their customers will be able to tap into Sybase’s messaging network to reach 4 billion mobile subscribers through 850+ operator relationships worldwide and engage their consumers via alerts, transactions and promotions on their mobile devices. 

The two companies announced that Sybase will operate as a standalone unit under the name “Sybase, an SAP Company.” Sybase’s management team will continue to run the business. The SAP Executive Board plans to propose to the Supervisory Board to appoint the Chairman and CEO of Sybase to SAP’s Executive Board.

Rockwell and Cisco expand partnership

Rockwell Automation announced a new agreement with Cisco that allows it to support and deliver services incorporating a wide range of Cisco’s infrastructure solutions. This development positions Rockwell Automation as a single source provider of the products, support and services manufacturers need to build a complete industrial and enterprise-level network architecture.

As a Cisco Solution Technology Integrator (STI) partner, Rockwell Automation can provide Cisco’s routers, wireless controllers, firewalls and many other infrastructure solutions. To help manufacturers achieve network convergence, Rockwell Automation is expanding its Stratix industrial switch family with the Allen-Bradley Stratix 8300 Layer 3 managed switch, allowing maximum flexibility in providing secure segmented architectures for EtherNet/IP applications. The new switch combines the expertise of Cisco and Rockwell Automation. It uses the Cisco Catalyst operating system, feature set and user interface while providing comprehensive diagnostic information from within the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture system. The new Stratix 8300 switch provides VLAN and subnet routing capability, including static, dynamic, multicast and policy-based routing.

Rockwell Automation and Cisco also have released a significant expansion of their Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE) Design and Implementation Guide (DIG) 2.0. This jointly developed guide provides tested and validated detailed design guidance, recommendations and best practices for deploying EtherNet/IP network technology and for integrating industrial and enterprise-level networks. The DIG is based on the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture system and Cisco’s Ethernet-to-the-Factory, and addresses topics relevant to both engineering and IT professionals.

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