TECH ROUNDUP: Feeney Wireless sold to San Diego wireless company; Intel courts Altera; Portland native named director of IT for White House.
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
Eugene-based Feeney Wireless, one of the state’s largest tech companies, was acquired by Novatel Wireless of San Diego, for $25 million in cash and stock.
Novatel could pay up to another $25 million in earn-out payments spread out over the next four years, the Register-Guard reports.
Feeney will be known as FW, a division of Novatel, said Michael Sklansky, Novatel’s director of business development and corporate strategy. FW’s 91-person workforce, and its leaders — CEO Ethan Ralston and chairman Bob Ralston — will stay on, Sklansky said.
“It’s a very positive transaction for the Eugene community,” he said. “There’s no intention or plan to reduce the size of staff there.” Novatel is based in San Diego. “This is not an exercise of take (Feeney’s) business, cost cut and squeeze to the bottom line.”
The move was received well in the stock market, OregonLive.com reports.
Investors applauded the transaction: Novatel shares climbed 21 cents, 4.5 percent, to Monday following news of the deal. The stock was down 2 cents in early trading Tuesday at $4.86. Shares have traded between $1.51 and $5.90 in the past year.
Monday’s deal is the first major sale of an Oregon tech company this year following nearly $7 billion in deals in 2014. Merger-and-acquisition activity is surging across the tech industry, underscoring investor and consumer enthusiasm for gadgets and gadget-makers.
Technology developed by Feeney bridges products and cellular networks.
Intel aims to buy Altera
The biggest acquisition in Intel’s history may be just around the corner.
Several media outlets have reported that Intel is engaged in talks to buy Altera, and the move could spur more consolidation in the semiconductor industry, Bloomberg reports.
Texas Instruments, the biggest maker of analog semiconductors, is notable for its absence from the M&A flurry. The $61 billion company’s last takeover of size was in 2011. Atmel Corp., Silicon Laboratories and Microchip Technology — which has a factory in Gresham — are among potential targets still standing. Each one offers a steady business with ample cost-cutting opportunities as part of a larger company, said Ian Ing of MKM Partners.
“There’s absolutely more to come,” Gavin Slader, a managing director in the investment-banking group at JMP Securities who focuses on the tech industry, said in a phone interview. “I would almost say anyone who hasn’t done a deal at this point has either got to be thinking about selling themselves or being acquisitive.”
Altera is worth about $10.5 billion in enterprise value.
Portland native named director of IT for White House
David Recordon, originally of Portland, was recently named the director of information technology for the White House.
He was one of the technology professionals included in the U.S. Digital Service team created by President Barack Obama last year to improve how government uses technology, according the government blog. Recordon could not be reached for comment. According to his Facebook page, he is 28 years old and from Portland.
“The best adventures have always been the ones I could never plan for,” Recordon posted on Facebook earlier this month. “The past five and a half years at Facebook have been absolutely amazing but it’s time to join a growing group of engineers and product managers from the best tech companies in advancing how our government uses technology.”
Recordon previously worked as an engineering director at Facebook.
Audit provides answers for Oregon keeps getting hacked
The state’s IT systems are understaffed and vulnerable to hackers.
Portland Tribune reports:
Auditors at the secretary of state’s office reviewed a new project management model developed by Oregon’s chief information officer in the wake of the Cover Oregon fiasco. Although the strategy is a positive step, auditors found the CIO’s office has taken more than a year to develop the model and still has not finished it. One reason is the agency where the CIO works, the Department of Administrative Services, does not have enough employees assigned to the project. Auditors also concluded the new project management strategy would not prevent many of the common problems that arose with state IT projects during the past 10 years.
Michael Jordan, who was chief operating officer for the state and director of DAS until March 5, agreed with most of the findings. Jordan agreed the chief information officer’s office was understaffed, and pointed out in a Feb. 24 written response that the agency had asked for 12 more employees in the next two-year budget starting in July. Without additional employees, Jordan estimated his agency would finish developing the new project management strategy by summer 2017.
The state’s efforts to identify and fix the problem are ongoing.