Oftentimes, an individual or a small company is better able to foresee an industry’s future needs than larger organizations. It also is small and agile enough to properly prepare to satisfy those needs. The electronicdesign- automation (EDA) industry, for example, has survived and flourished mostly because the bigger companies acquired and therefore expanded startups that were working on what would be needed next. In any industry, however, such acquisitions are often looked upon in a negative manner. It is as if becoming part of a larger company is “selling out” in terms of independence in offering the best, most unique products and a corporate culture that does not fit the usual mold. As much as most people herald the small company that does things its own way, however, there are numerous large benefits to being part of a larger whole.
Take the deal that just shook the passive-components market, for example. American Technical Ceramics Corp. or ATC (Huntington Station, NY) was just acquired by AVX Corp. (Myrtle Beach, SC). ATC has a longstanding, strong reputation for its design, development, manufacturing, and marketing of ceramic multilayer capacitors and thin-film products for both commercial and military applications. This year, the company ranked number 74 on the Fortune Small Business list of “America’s fastest-growing small public companies.” Despite its obvious success, however, the folks at ATC could clearly see the benefits of being acquired by the larger AVX—a Kyocera Group company.
For a smaller company like ATC, the most obvious benefit is the increased technical, marketing, and financial resources. These resources could help the company achieve further growth while propelling it into new areas. Of course, some naysayers are already predicting that ATC will get caught up in a lot of red tape at a big company like AVX. Research and development will slow down and it will lose the agility that it had as a smaller, more independent company. The company will not be able to adapt as quickly to changing market needs. It will lose its “magic.”
My prediction is that ATC cannot help but be slightly changed by this acquisition. The company will have to adapt to being part of a large corporation. With increased resources, however, the company also should enjoy many positive changes. At Microwaves & RF, which is part of Penton’s Electronic Design Group, we also are working on leveraging the resources that are available to us within our group. This month at European Microwave Week, we had the pleasure of introducing Paul Whytock, Editor in Chief of our sister publication, Electronic Design Europe, as our European correspondent. Thanks to Paul, we now have a “face” in Europe. We also had the pleasure of offering video feeds from the show, which was held in Munich, Germany. Please visit www.mwrf.com and click on Eu MW Week to see our complete show coverage.