Symbol buys RFID tag maker in $230M deal

Symbol Technologies Inc. is buying Matrics Inc., a maker of radio-frequency identification systems, for $230 million cash, the company said today.

Matrics, a privately held company in Rockville, Md., makes radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and readers that track products for retail, defense, transportation and other organizations. It has 64 employees and assets of $15 million, according to Symbol.

The company's readers and tags are used to track inventory, ensure compliance in regulated industries, aid in security by tracking baggage through airports and create a more effective logistics process in the defense sector. Last week, Matrics opened an office in Singapore in response to demand in the Asia-Pacific region. Its clients there include the Airport Authority Hong Kong and Mighty Card Corp., an RFID solutions provider in Japan.

Symbol intends to finance the purchase with short-term borrowings under a new credit facility and expects to refinance the amount in a capital markets equity or equity-linked transaction later this year, the company said. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2004.

Symbol of Holtsville, N.Y., makes portable data terminals, bar code scanners and hardware and solutions that integrate scanners into wireless networks. Symbol employs 5,200 full-time workers worldwide and posted revenue of $1.5 billion and a net profit of $3.3 million in 2003.

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