Bellevue's Wavtrace Gets Acquired by California-based Company
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Harris Corporation, the largest supplier of microwave communications equipment in North America announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Wavtrace, Inc., a privately-held, Bellevue-based pioneer and leading developer of broadband wireless access systems.
The agreement provides for Harris, which currently owns approximately 20 percent of Wavtrace, to purchase the remainder of the company for $134 million.
The acquisition is the culmination of the Harris/Wavtrace strategic alliance launched in June of 1999. "Broadband wireless access is one of the key new market areas in wireless communications and it will be one of the largest markets going forward," says Sam Wyman, president of Harris Microwave Communications Division.
"After an exhaustive review the decision was made to make an initial investment into Wavtrace of just under 20%. And since that time, over the last year, the microwave division of Harris has worked very closely with Wavtrace in understanding the technologies, the products and the market, and feel very happy that we could come to a conceptual conclusion of signing."
Wavtrace employs approximately 110 people, including 80 engineers, all of who will remain in the Bellevue facility to continue the development of next generation products.
Wavtrace will become part of Harris' Microwave Communications Division, headquartered in Redwood Shores, California, and the Wavtrace product will become part of Harris' ClearBurst(TM) product line. Wavtrace has been the pioneer in developing TDD (time division duplexing) technology for point-to-multi-point systems in LMDS frequencies," says Tom OverBeek, CEO of Wavtrace. "It became clear to us that as the market began to develop and mature, that although we had the best technology, that in order to win in the market we needed some resources from an organization like Harris, like integration and complimentary technologies."
According to Wyman, Overbeek will probably be the only loss from their management team. This, Wyman explains, is a result of Harris' division management structure.
Founded in 1996, Wavtrace develops and manufactures point-to-multipoint systems delivering high speed Internet and other data, video and voice services to businesses.
Wavtrace recently completed tests in Europe with very positive results. The production product release next spring will incorporate adaptive TDD capability, a technique that dynamically allocates upstream and downstream capacity based on real-time traffic demand.
According to Robert Foster, chairman and founder of Wavtrace, the product will have the fastest burst modem in the industry, enabling the delivery of multimedia services at speeds up to 180 Mbps per user, four times as fast as competing systems.