ABB acquires Tropos Networks

ABB, the Swedish power and automation company (which is now based in Zurich, Switzerland), is acquiring Tropos Networks, which many MuniWireless readers will recognize as one of the main providers of Wi-Fi equipment to large citywide Wi-Fi projects. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2012.

After the collapse of the muni Wi-Fi market in the United States, Tropos refocused its products to utilities deploying smart grid solutions. ABB will offer Tropos’s equipment to customers in the power, transportation, mining and public infrastructure sectors in the United States.

“Tropos Networks’ technologies are a great fit with our own communications offering, greatly increasing our ability to supply robust and reliable private networks for use in mission-critical applications,” said Jens Birgersson, head of ABB’s Network Management business, a part of the company’s Power Systems division. “With a strong presence in North America, this acquisition will provide ABB with additional access to US markets, where we still have considerable room to grow.”

“Customers will benefit from the combination of Tropos’ wireless communications networks and ABB’s automation solutions and system design and implementation services,” said Tom Ayers, President and CEO of Tropos Networks. “For Tropos, joining ABB will accelerate our ability to reach customers in new geographies and industrial sectors.”

It has been difficult for companies like Tropos to survive after municipalities and utilities dramatically reduced their purchasing budgets. In addition, many wireless ISPs prefer Ubiquiti’s products, which are much cheaper and do more or less the same thing. As more potential buyers put pressure on wireless equipment makers to reduce their prices, independent companies like Tropos need to find a home inside a larger company which can use their products as a complement to existing product lines.

Tropos has raised more than $60 million in venture capital funding. I do not know how much ABB paid for Tropos, but if you do, please post in the comments below.