Friday, May 1, 2009

Where Have All of the M/A-COM Pieces Landed?

Over the past year, one of the RF and microwave industry icons has been diced into 5 pieces and sold to various companies. If we go back a few years, M/A-COM was purchased by the connector giant AMP back in 1995 as they wanted expand into the growing wireless markets. AMP was then acquired by the even larger Tyco International in 1999 as they were buying companies in many industries. In 2007, Tyco International split up into 3 companies (after the Dennis Koslowski years), one of which was Tyco Electronics (the medical companies formed a new company called Covidien and the security companies stayed with Tyco International). Tyco Electronics contained the former AMP and M/A-COM companies along with many other brands. Shortly after that time, Tyco Electronics decided most of the M/A-COM product portfolio was not part of their future strategy and put the defense and commercial components businesses up for sale.

Cobham Defense came along in 2008 and purchased the commercial and defense components businesses with the intent to re-sell the commercial business as soon as they found a buyer. At about the same time, the automotive products (antennas and radar sensors) were sold to Autoliv. Cobham recently found a buyer as John Ocampo purchased the commercial components business (John Ocampo is the owner of GaAs Labs which is a large investor in Mimix Broadband) which retains its name developed under Cobham as M/A-COM Technology Solutions. In between all of this, Micronetics scooped up the RFID product lines from the commercial business in a separate transaction which should nicely complement their existing product lines.

And then last week, the private radio group (Wireless Systems) was purchased from Tyco Electronics by Harris Corporation. This should bring strength to both groups as Harris has a strong foot hold in the military radio market and M/A-COM Wireless Systems was growing in the public safety market where Motorola is a dominate player. It may have been sparked by the potential loss of the $2B New York State contract or maybe Harris just saw a good opportunity to grow their radio business.

It will be interesting (and challenging) to follow the pieces as they continue forward in these new companies. So now M/A-COM is part of Cobham, Harris, Micronetics, M/A-COM Technology Solutions (John Ocampo) and Autoliv. What do you think of their future prospects?

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