Monday, August 25, 2008

Looks like Curtiss-Wright is ready to grow again; set to acquire VMETRO

Posted by John Keller

I've been teased and chided for calling Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing in Leesburg, Va., a "behemoth" in the embedded computing industry. Well hold on to your hats, folks, it looks like Curtiss-Wright is about to get even bigger.

Leaders of Curtiss-Wright Corp. in Roseland, N.J. -- parent of Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded -- are offering to acquire VME computing specialist VMETRO in Houston. VMETRO leaders say the Curtiss-Wright offer sounds fair, and they are ready to accept it, unless some nasty surprises come up in final negotiations.

VMETRO provides commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) board- and system-level embedded computer products for military, aerospace, industrial, communications, medical, enterprise computing and network storage. The company also specializes in high-speed serial interconnects like PCI Express, Serial RapidIO, Aurora and Serial FPDP, based on standard formats like VXS, VPX, VME, PMC, XMC, FMC, PCI/PCI-X, PCI Express, AdvancedMC and CompactPCI.

Curtiss-Wright has bolstered its brand and industry expertise by acquiring companies with names like DY 4 Systems, Systran, and Pentland. Now it looks like VMETRO will be joining the list.

It looks like the embedded computer industry continues to contract. Among the things this may signal is that GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms may have to respond with an acquisition of its own.

It also may be time for companies like Mercury Computer Systems to watch their backs. I wouldn't be surprised to see either Curtiss-Wright or GE Fanuc make a play for that company sometime soon. Other companies in the embedded computing industry likewise should keep an eye out.

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