Mellanox acquires Voltaire for $218 million

Posted on November 29, 2010

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By Sean Michael Kerner

November 29, 2010 -- The world of InfiniBand vendors is about to get a bit smaller thanks to the acquisition of Voltaire by Mellanox. Mellanox (NASDAQ:MLNX) will pay $8.75 per Voltaire (NASDAQ:VOLT) share in a deal valued at approximately $218 million. The deal is set to close in the first quarter of 2011.

Both Mellanox and Voltaire have been active in the market for high-availability InfiniBand- based connectivity. In recent years both vendors have also entered into the Ethernet market as well, building technology bridges between Infinband and Ethernet (see “InfiniBand Moving to Ethernet?”).

"We believe that bringing Voltaire into the Mellanox family is all about accelerating our growth and furthering the depth and breadth of our end-to-end connectivity products for both InfiniBand and Ethernet," Eyal Waldman, president, chairman and CEO of Mellanox said during a press conference call.

Waldman noted during the call that the combined company will have approximately 700 employees. He added that it is his intention not to close any Voltaire facilities and he hopes that Voltaire employees will all be moving over to Mellanox.

With the acquisition, Mellanox is aiming to add new growth opportunities to its business and does not see any significant product duplication.  He noted that Voltaire has some strategic software technologies, including a unified fabric manager and storage accelerators, that will now be beneficial to Mellanox as well. Waldman said that the intent of the deal is to take advantage of vertical integration for creating silicon, software and hardware connectivity solutions.

As an example of how the two companies will integrate to provide a complete solution, Waldman noted that Voltaire currently has 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) switches while Mellanox has 10GbE NIC endpoints.

"Together we have an end-to-end solution that, until now, neither company had," Waldman said.

The combined entity will also focus on continuing to drive InfiniBand forward. Waldman said that he is seeing continued demand for InfiniBand in the high performance computing (HPC) space. That said, he also sees a market for Ethernet products from Mellanox.  To that end, Mellanox has its Virtual Protocol Interconnect (VPI) technology that aims to create a bridge between Ethernet and Infiniband traffic which will also benefit from the Voltaire technology integration.

For the time being Waldman noted the focus for both the Voltaire and Mellanox management teams will be about providing continuinty to existing customers. The plan is to begin to merge product lines sometime during the second half of 2011.  

Both Mellanox and Voltaire compete with QLogic in the InfiniBand market.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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