Western Multiplex, Proxim To Merge In $289M Deal


Wireless vendors Proxim and Western Multiplex agreed to merge last week in a deal valued at $289 million.

The transaction would create a combined company with products ranging from low-end consumer HomeRF to 802.11a and 802.11b wireless LAN gear, as well as wireless Ethernet bridges and wireless carrier backhaul products.


Proxim Chairman David King will become president, COO of combined company.

Under the terms of the agreement, the combined company will keep the Proxim name and will be based in Sunnyvale.

Jonathan Zakin, chairman and CEO of Western Multiplex, will retain his position with the combined company. Proxim Chairman and CEO David King will become president and COO.

Proxim's strength in the home wireless networking and enterprise WLAN markets complements Western Multiplex's position in point-to-point high-speed wireless Ethernet bridges and last-mile access products, Zakin said. Western Multiplex's Tsunami wireless Ethernet bridges are used as WAN connections between buildings and campuses, with speeds up to 430 Mbps.

Jack Davis, CEO of Bev-erly, Mass.-based solution provider SideBand Systems, said his company partners with both Proxim and Western Multiplex. "We carry both product lines," he said. "Proxim is strong in in-building systems, and Western Multiplex is strong in building-to-building and building-to-multibuilding systems. If they can come up with a seamless scheme that integrates the two strengths, we'd look forward to that."

King said the merger would give Proxim access to Western Multiplex's solution provider channel. Proxim, strong in the health-care and government markets, hasn't penetrated the corporate enterprise market, he said. Also, Proxim's 802.11b-based wireless Ethernet bridges haven't gained the traction of its in-building WLAN products, he said.

Western Multiplex's channel partners largely consist of Cisco Systems partners supplementing Cisco LAN products with Western Multiplex's high-speed Ethernet building-to-building bridges. While Cisco produces WLAN products, it does not produce high-speed wireless Ethernet bridges.

Zakin said the merger would allow the new Proxim to provide integrated end-to-end wireless solutions through the channel partners of both companies.