Data Center Dealings: Emerson To Acquire Avocent For $1.2 Billion

The acquisition, which Emerson said it expects to close on Jan. 1 pending regulatory approval, is a significant boost to Emerson's data center portfolio, where it already dominates in power systems and power and cooling technologies through Emerson Network Power and its Liebert brand.

"Combining Avocent's technologies, relationships and installed base with Emerson's power and cooling presence allows us to offer a more compelling solution to our data center customers' most pressing challenge -- energy efficiency," said David Farr, Emerson's chairman, CEO and president, in a statement. "It furthers our customers' ability to better manage reliability, availability and life-cycle costs through a simple yet comprehensive view of the complete data center physical infrastructure."

According to Emerson, the acquisition was endorsed unanimously by Avocent's board of directors. Huntsville, Ala.-based Avocent recorded sales of $657 million in 2008, more than half of that abroad thanks to the company's significant global footprint. Emerson's data center-related revenue in 2008 was about $2.6 billion.

Now comes the question of how Emerson and Avocent combined will affect each vendor's channels. Calls by Channelweb to Emerson and Avocent weren't immediately returned.

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A presentation by Emerson was scheduled for 11 a.m. Eastern to discuss the acquisition.

"Augmenting Avocent's ability to access and control the physical aspects of network devices and servers with information and knowledge of the broader power and cooling infrastructure forms a powerful combination missing today from the toolset available to data center managers," said Mike Borman, Avocent's CEO, in a statement.

Avocent's growth areas also include substantial business in the U.S. public sector, where earlier this year the company added several new executive positions and talked up a channel push.

"The government side is where a lot of the unique innovation takes place," said Benjamin Grimes, Avocent's CTO and senior vice president of corporate strategy, in a ChannelWeb interview at this year's FOSE conference in Washington, D.C. "There are a a lot of interesting conversations going on because in the government, you're really creating a new environment. ... We have to have the right type of partners who think that way."