Is Stanley Black & Decker planning another venture into the RFID sector? It looks like that might be the case. Published reports say that Stanley Black & Decker is in the final stages of working out a deal to acquire Aeroscout Ltd. for as much as $250 million.
It wouldn’t be a total shock to see Stanley Black & Decker make a big splash in the RFID sector. In 2010, Stanley acquired WinWare, the creator of the RFID-enabled CribMaster tool management system. No purchase price was disclosed for that deal. Other industry sources have indicated that Cisco was also involved in the bidding for Aeroscout.
An interest in Aeroscout may indicate that the WinWare deal has worked out well for Stanley Black & Decker, prompting the firm to make a bigger push into RFID. Additionally, it could spark a larger round of consolidation within the highly fragmented RFID sector.
According to Isreal-based Globes, Stanley Black & Decker will likely acquire AeroScout through Stanley Healthcare Solutions, or its subsidiary InfoLogix, a partner of AeroScout. It is also possible that the acquisition will be made for more industrial purposes, fields where AeroScout is less active, and where its location technology can be integrated into a range of industrial products made by Black & Decker.
AeroScout’s solutions mostly utilize active RFID and RTLS and cater to industries that need to locate employees, tools, customers, or equipment quickly and accurately.
Here’s an excerpt from the Globes story:
AeroScout said in response, “The company does not comment on rumors.”
Several recent US government tenders indicate that the real-time location services market AeroScout’s business is thriving. The tenders include a $550 million tender by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, published in late 2011, for the installation of real-time RFID-based location systems at its 152 hospitals and 1,400 clinics.
AeroScout CEO Yuval Bar-Gil founded the company in 1999. AeroScout originally developed Bluetooth technology under the name Bluesoft, before switching to radio frequency identification (RFID) technology and changing its name in 2004. The change in technology also involved a change in target market to consumer products and private users.
Aeroscout has raised $85 million to date; its last financing round was in October 2010. Current investors include Intel Capital, Menlo Ventures, Evergreen Venture Partners, Pitango Venture Capital, Star Ventures, Greylock Partners, and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO).