Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

u-blox bolsters short-range IoT strategy with connectBlue buy

Iain Morris
May 22, 2014
Swiss M2M module maker u-blox has announced a $28 million takeover of Wi-Fi specialist connectBlue in a move aimed at bolstering its short-range Internet of Things (IoT) strategy.

u-blox said the acquisition would enhance its portfolio of positioning and cellular technologies, allowing it to better support connectivity over the “last hundreds of meters” between equipment and the internet.

The connectBlue (Malmo, Sweden) acquisition should, in particular, help u-blox (Thalwil, Switzerland) to provide improved services to companies in the medical equipment, data acquisition, vehicle monitoring and asset tracking areas.

“The IoT requires end-to-end connectivity to allow powerful applications to manage mission- and business-critical devices such as health monitoring and point of sales terminals, factory automation and vehicle sensors,“ said Thomas Seiler, the chief executive of u-blox. “connectBlue’s short range radio technology combined with our comprehensive line of cellular modems and satellite positioning receivers allow us to provide a complete communication solution for thousands of existing and future applications.”

“We are very pleased to work with our new colleagues in Sweden to build on the deep synergies between our businesses,” he added.

connectBlue chief executive Rolf Nilsson claims the company’s technology provides a lower-cost and more reliable alternative to cable, copper and fiber used in factories, vehicles and outdoor installations.

“This merger with u-blox gives our customers a rich choice of highly-reliable, industrial-grade wireless connectivity solutions to the last mile as well as to the last meter,” he said.

connectBlue has been active since 2000 and offers modules incorporating Classic Bluetooth, Bluetooth low energy and Wi-Fi standards.

The company claims to serve an impressive list of global customers producing medical instrumentation, equipment for industrial automation, measurement, data acquisition and vehicle management systems.

u-blox said that connectBlue’s operations in Malmo, Sweden would become the new product center for short range radio.

The takeover will see u-blox acquire 100% of connectBlue’s shares for an enterprise value of SEK185 ($28 million).

u-blox expects connectBlue to generate revenue of CHF9 million ($10 million) and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of CHF1 million over the reaminder of 2014.

Those figures would boost its own full-year revenues to between CHF264 million and CHF275 million and its EBIT to between CHF35 million and CHF39 million, said the company.

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