Test & Measurement

Ixia Splashes $44M on Agilent Unit

Ixia (Nasdaq: XXIA) prepared to extend its lead in network testing yesterday, announcing a deal to acquire the N2X product line from Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) for $44 million cash.

The acquisition, announced after the stock market closed Wednesday, is set to close Oct. 30 and will involve the transfer of 200 Agilent employees to Ixia. (See Ixia Buys Agilent's N2X Line for $44M.)

According to Ixia CEO Atul Bhatnagar, his company already led the market in network testing, the gear that simulates networks at Layer 2 and Layer 3. Spirent Communications plc typically placed second, with Agilent in third.

Ixia typically sells its gear to equipment vendors, while Agilent sold its N2X technology to service providers, including some real heavy-hitters, Bhatnagar says.

Ixia would inherit those relationships, giving it an expanded customer base. Bhatnagar is hoping the deal will also give Ixia a chance to sell its other equipment to those service providers. "Now we can upsell to this very Ivy League customer base," he tells Light Reading.

Ixia has about 950 employees, not counting the pending acquisition. The additions would make Bangalore, India, the second largest site in Ixia's empire; Ixia would also pick up Agilent employees in Canada and Australia.

Ixia also announced that it expects its revenues for the third quarter to be approximately $46.4 million, at the high end of its previous guidance of $42 million to $47 million. The company is set to publish its full third-quarter earnings announcment on October 28.

The company's share price closed Wednesday at $8.04.

The move marks Ixia's second acquisition in five months: In May it announced the $63 million purchase of mobile radio access network (RAN) test specialist Catapult Communications Corp. (See Ixia Buys RAN Test Specialist and Ixia Completes Catapult Acquisition.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Michael Lynge 12/5/2012 | 3:53:12 PM
re: Ixia Splashes $44M on Agilent Unit

This is definitely a change in the industry and will be interesting for N2X customers.  With a time limit set for support, it will probably mean that the N2X will enter sustaining engineering mode as soon as any customer contractual obligations are met. 

Not a good spot to be in if you own N2X and was planning to invest time, resources and additional purchases.  I imagine for most, a multi-vendor environment is what will be used as they determine what to do going forward.  Most labs are like this anyway so it won't be a huge impact but definitely a major decision for any new purchases or investments.

I started a blog series (not a product pitch) to highlight some of these items to spark the thought process. http://ow.ly/xG9O

TriteReading 12/5/2012 | 3:53:14 PM
re: Ixia Splashes $44M on Agilent Unit

This is truly a sad moment in the history of this industry.  The once mighty HP/Agilent is now a shell of its former self.

This is the ultimate end to what started with a group of Tektronix managers coming into Agilent, starting with Churchill, that were only focused on cost cutting and not on building anything or making customers happy.  This product line was starved, stupid decisions made, and poor managers hired who had no idea about the IP test industry or this type of product.

I am sure Ixia will just try to capture all the customers and shut down the groups and the products as soon as they can.  The N2X was a killer product, just look at how many groups in Cisco and Juniper are using it for high end carrier router testing.

I can't believe the paltry sum Agilent hocked this off for.  $44M is nothing for this fantastic product, the team that created it (what's left of them), and the market share gained.  Agilent sold a diamond for the price of a jade.

Long live N2X.

jmunn 12/5/2012 | 3:53:38 PM
re: Ixia Splashes $44M on Agilent Unit

I believe that there is/was a different N2X group that does/did TDM/SONET testing.  They used the same chassis but otherwise were independent.

What happens to that group and products?  I don't think IXIA had any interest in those N2X products.



sourcecoder 12/5/2012 | 3:53:39 PM
re: Ixia Splashes $44M on Agilent Unit

We've evaluated Agilent, Ixia & Spirent for our needs. Agilent came out ahead of the crowd by far. If the N2X produce line changes or discontinued from its tradition qualities, then we'll have no choice but to reconsider Spirent.

Agreed: "Ixia has great marketing but an inferior product, Agilent had the superior product but poorly marketed."

Somehow, I don't feel Ixia will be smart enough to fully take advantage of the Agilent’s intelligence and role it into Ixia’s platform.  As with most take acquisitions, the parent company takes only the customer base and sweeps the newly acquired product under that carpet in five years time.  Ixia’s loss will be Spirent’s gain here.


Garci 12/5/2012 | 3:53:40 PM
re: Ixia Splashes $44M on Agilent Unit

A pitty indeed. N2X is, in my opinion, un-beatable when it comes to test QoS and especially non-scripted tests.

There is still a lot of Agilent left, but its sad to see how HP got rid of its roots and now even this is starting to be dismantled.

Coredump 12/5/2012 | 3:53:40 PM
re: Ixia Splashes $44M on Agilent Unit Ixia only wants access to Agilent's customers, not their products. Ixia will probably be very aggressive in getting N2X customers onto the Ixia platform so they can kill N2X as quickly as possible. A sad end to what at one time was truly a truly superior (but poorly marketed) product.
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