It’s official. On Thursday morning, Japanese electronics giant Toshiba said it plans to acquire Swiss smart meter and networking company Landis+Gyr. The deal, which is supposed to close in the third quarter, will turn Toshiba, already a huge player in power and grid systems, into a sizable smart grid contender. Toshiba says in a statement that it wants to build “the world’s Smart Grid leader.”
Landis+Gyr had reportedly been the subject of a bidding war between Toshiba; GE (s GE), which had reportedly offered $2 billion; and other alleged bidders including Honeywell (s HON) and ABB (s ABB). Landis+Gyr is a valuable property; it’s one of the big five smart meter companies (the others are GE, Itron (s ITRI), Sensus and Elster), and it earned about $215 million on $1.59 billion in annual revenues in the past year.
For that $2.3 billion, Toshiba will get Landis+Gyr’s extensive smart metering and distribution grid management technology and its variety of smart grid deals with utilities. Toshiba can also compete more effectively with its domestic competitors like the smart grid partnership between Hitachi and Panasonic (a Hitachi smart grid project on Maui was announced earlier this week).
Despite a few hurdles, the smart meter market has been growing quickly. In the U.S. alone, more than 90 utilities have 57.9 million smart meters planned and on the way, according to Pike Research. Globally, smart meters are supposed to be a $3.9 billion industry by 2015, with 250 million meters installed. Beyond just smart meters, smart grid network gear and software will be a large market as well, and so-called distribution grid management took in $1.5 billion in the U.S. in 2010, according to the Cleantech Group.
Landis+Gyr listed selling shareholders as: Allianz Capital Partners, Australian Capital Equity, DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, Dubai International Capital, Marinya Holdings, Sir Douglas Myers, Sir Anthony O’Reilly, Propel Investments, and Sofina SA. Check out our Anatomy of A Smart Meter Company for Sale, on GigaOM Pro (subscription required).
Image courtesy of flickr user Boris from Vienna via Creative Commons license.