RuggedCom In Play, A Valuable Investment? Yes, But at What Price?
It looks like I have been too heads down in my activities involving research process level measurement & ITG as well as pressure and temperature instrumentation markets, and/or my automated information sources failed me, to notice the recent all-cash offer made by Belden to acquire RuggedCom. It is nice to know that one of my crystal ball predictions made in a 12/10/10 blog may be coming true and RuggedCom's attractive performance, strong product portfolio and attractive customer base (i.e. smart grid and transportation) made them such an attractive opportunity that someone would have to acquire them. It looks like I was once again a little early in my prognostications as I would have wagered an acquisition to take place in 2011.
What struck me most by the news was not that Belden was one of the interested parties, although they told me that prior to GarrettCom acquisition they felt RuggedCom's price was too steep, but rather that they are agreeing to pay $280 million for the chance to bring RuggedCom into the fold of Belden's embrace.
I am not privy to how many other serious potential suitors really are pouring over the company's books, although I am checking my traps as this blog is being written, and therefore I have no real hard basis for recommending that Belden hold the line (i.e. not raise) on their cash offer despite RuggedCom's management's recent efforts to persuade shareholders to reject the offer made on December 19, 2011.
In my personal opinion I can say that RuggedCom might make an attractive acquisition to a number of potential companies including Cisco, Rockwell Automation, ABB, Invensys, Emerson and perhaps even Siemens. There are other tangential players in related markets that may benefit from both RuggedCom's product portfolio and customer base so as to better leverage their own complimentary products and gain access into new markets. I cannot list those companies in this blog as I may be privy to information that is not publicly available and I do not want to betray confidences.
The trick in any of these types of acquisitions play is to buy the company without getting into a protracted and heated bidding war, especially if the other potential suitors may have deeper pockets or a greater strategic objective to pull the trigger.
All I can do is wish Belden the best in their attempts to acquire an attractive company in RuggedCom and hope that if they are successful that they can effectively manage the integration so as to ensure the greatest value to the customer and the marketplaces in which they operate; since after all without that, this entire financial exercise will prove to be an unwise investment.
Should another company(s) express serious interest in acquiring RuggedCom then Belden's management better get to know the lyrics to Kenny Rogers song "know when to hold them and know when to fold them" pretty well so that they are aware of what they may gain versus what they may lose, and at what price.
It will be fun to see how this entire process plays out regardless.