Datum Inc., an Irvine maker of timing devices, said Thursday that it agreed to be acquired by a San Jose-based competitor for stock worth $97 million.
Symmetricom Inc., which has another deal pending to acquire a much smaller competitor, would exchange nearly 2.8 of its shares for each share of Datum.
News of the deal sent Datum stock up 21%, or $2.39, to close at $13.80. Symmetricom fell 81 cents to $5.29. Both companies trade on Nasdaq.
Founded in 1969, Datum is one of Orange County's older technology companies. It makes timing and synchronization products--essentially atomic clocks--for the telecommunications industry to help different electronic devices communicate with each other.
Its chairman, Erik H. van der Kaay, said the Irvine plant, one of four nationwide, would be crucial to the combined operations and would remain open. Datum has about 500 employees.
Datum shareholders would end up with about 42% of Symmetricom once acquisitions of both Datum and TrueTime Inc. in Santa Rosa are completed this year. The firms make timing products for computers, broadband and other electronics for military, industrial and commercial customers.
The combined operation would have $205 million in sales, based on results from the last four quarters. Datum earned $1.2 million on sales of $109.7 million in 2001.
Thomas W. Steipp, Symmetricom's chief executive, said the merged operations would provide stronger product offerings with little customer overlap and would result in a more financially viable company.
The companies would look to cut costs as Symmetricom consolidates headquarters operations in San Jose. About a third of the cost savings would come from employee cuts, he said. Symmetricom has 410 employees; TrueTime has 105.
Steipp and Van der Kaay said no decisions have been made on staff reductions and plant closings.
Symmetricom would add three Datum directors to its board, raising the total number to nine. Steipp would remain chief executive. Van der Kaay would chair Symmetricom's board, replacing Chairman Richard W. Oliver. Oliver would remain a director.