Ixia snaps up Net Optics for $190M

Acquisition, earnings call caps busy week for network testing firm

Service testing and verification provider Ixia announced Tuesday that it would be purchasing network visibility vendor Net Optics for $190 million. The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.

In a statement, Ixia chairman and acting CEO Errol Ginsberg said that the deal makes his company’s offerings more comprehensive, and broadens its addressable market.

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“The acquisition strengthens our service provider customer base, increases our footprint in the enterprise, and broadens our sales channel and partner programs,” he said.

Net Optics is the company’s third major acquisition in the past two years, having already bought another network visibility specialist, Anue Systems, in May 2012 for $145 million, and security testing specialist BreakingPoint Systems in July of that year for $160 million.

The Net Optics play may be an attempt to reinvigorate Ixia’s business – the company’s third quarter earnings, which were released on the same day as the Net Optics announcement, showed that net income fell on both a GAAP and a non-GAAP basis compared to the same period in 2012, though overall revenues went up. A roughly $3.9 million shortfall in quarterly product revenue was more than offset by an $8.6 million gain in revenue from services.

Ixia’s share price spiked to more than $15.72 at one point Wednesday morning, its highest level since taking a substantial dip last week, after then-CEO Vic Alston was forced to step down amid accusations that he had falsified his academic and early employment credentials. Alston had claimed to hold both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from Stanford, and lied about his age. The company’s board is searching for a permanent replacement as Ginsberg attempts to steady the ship.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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