VANCOUVER, British Columbia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--(All amounts included are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise stated.) Sierra Wireless, Inc. (NASDAQ: SWIR) (TSX: SW) today announced it has executed a definitive agreement for the sale of substantially all of the assets and operations related to its AirCard® business to NETGEAR®, Inc. (NASDAQGM: NTGR) for $138 million in cash plus approximately $6.5 million in assumed liabilities as of December 31, 2012. NETGEAR is a global networking company that delivers innovative products to consumers, businesses, and service providers. Sierra Wireless expects to realize net cash proceeds of approximately $100 million from the asset sale, after related taxes, expenses, and funds held in escrow. The transaction is expected to close in March 2013, subject to customary closing conditions.
“As a stand-alone business, we will have a cost structure that supports considerably higher revenue levels, which will initially be reflected in modest operating margins. However, because we will be fully invested for growth, as we increase our revenues we expect to see greater operating leverage from the business.”
Under the transaction, NETGEAR will acquire the assets and operations of the AirCard business, including customer relationships, products, intellectual property, inventory, and fixed assets, and assume certain liabilities, including warranty commitments and other customer obligations. Approximately 160 employees, primarily in sales, marketing, and R&D, will be transferred to NETGEAR, as well as certain facilities in Carlsbad, CA and Richmond, BC.
“This transaction is the next step in our transformation into a company focused on enabling the ‘Internet of Things’ – a strategy we have been pursuing with great success since 2007,” said Jason Cohenour, President and CEO of Sierra Wireless. “We are the world leader in this dynamic market, with the industry’s broadest product lineup, solutions across the value chain and an extensive, blue-chip customer base. In addition to realizing a solid return for the AirCard business, this transaction will provide significant financial resources and capacity to accelerate our growth in M2M and connected device solutions.”
Mr. Cohenour added, “Our AirCard business has become the technology leader in the mobile broadband market, and has earned a global reputation for strong R&D execution and high quality products. The acquisition by NETGEAR offers this product line and superb team a natural home and excellent growth prospects, as the strategy, product line and channel alignment is very strong. Under the ownership of NETGEAR, our AirCard customers can expect continued high service levels and technology innovation.”
Upon completion of the transaction, Sierra Wireless’s retained business will include its AirPrime™ embedded modules for M2M and Mobile Computing, AirLink® intelligent gateways and routers, and AirVantage™ M2M cloud product lines. Going forward, Sierra Wireless will be an M2M and connected device pure play company, focused on providing innovative hardware, software, and cloud-based solutions that work together to enable customers across a broad range of markets to connect their machines to the “Internet of Things.”
Use of funds
Sierra Wireless intends to use net proceeds from the transaction to continue its acquisition strategy in the M2M market, with the objective of accelerating revenue and earnings growth by strengthening its leadership in existing markets and expanding its position in the M2M value chain.
Sierra Wireless is also exploring alternatives to return a portion of the proceeds to shareholders and will seek approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange (“TSX”) to undertake a normal course issuer bid (“NCIB”). The terms of the proposed NCIB will be subject to TSX review and approval, and Sierra Wireless expects to provide further details in the coming weeks.
Financial highlights for the fourth quarter and full year 2012
Sierra Wireless expects consolidated fourth quarter 2012 results to be solidly in line with guidance provided on November 1, 2012. Preliminary revenue for the full year is $644 million.
With respect to the retained business, preliminary fourth quarter and full year 2012 revenues were $109 and $397 million, respectively, including $14.0 million and $61.1 million, respectively, in revenue from the sale of AirPrime embedded wireless modules to Mobile Computing customers. Non-GAAP gross margin for the retained business was 33.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 and 31.6 percent for the full year. Non-GAAP earnings from operations for the retained business were modestly positive in the fourth quarter, showing a steady improvement throughout the year.
“Upon closing this transaction, we will be highly focused on driving profitable revenue growth in our M2M business,” said David McLennan, Chief Financial Officer of Sierra Wireless. “As a stand-alone business, we will have a cost structure that supports considerably higher revenue levels, which will initially be reflected in modest operating margins. However, because we will be fully invested for growth, as we increase our revenues we expect to see greater operating leverage from the business.”
Sierra Wireless will release fourth quarter and fiscal 2012 financial results after market close on February 6, 2013. Management will provide additional financial detail at that time.
BMO Capital Markets is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Sierra Wireless, and Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP and Paul Hastings LLP are acting as legal counsel to Sierra Wireless.
Conference Call / Webcast to discuss the announcement
Sierra Wireless President and CEO, Jason Cohenour, and CFO, David McLennan, will host a conference call and webcast with analysts and investors today, January 28, 2013, at 6:30 PM Eastern Time (3:30 PM PT). A live slide presentation will be available for viewing during the call from the link provided below.
To participate in this conference call, please dial the following number approximately ten minutes prior to the commencement of the call:
• Toll-free (Canada and US): 1 (888) 231-8191
• Alternate number: 1 (647) 427-7450
• Conference ID: 5233068
For those unable to participate in the live call, a replay will be available for one year following the call. Dial 1 (855) 859-2056 or (416) 849-0833 and enter Conference ID number 93560618 to access the replay.
To access the webcast, please follow the link below:
The webcast will remain available at the above link for one year following the call.
We look forward to having you participate in our call.
About Sierra Wireless
Sierra Wireless (NASDAQ: SWIR) (TSX: SW) offers industry-leading mobile computing and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications products and solutions that connect people, devices, and applications over cellular networks. Wireless service providers, equipment manufacturers, enterprises and government organizations around the world depend on us for reliable wireless technology. We offer 2G, 3G and 4G wireless modems, routers and gateways as well as a comprehensive suite of software, tools, and services that ensure our customers can successfully bring wireless applications to market. For more information about Sierra Wireless, visit www.sierrawireless.com.
“AirCard,” “AirPrime,” “AirLink,” and “AirVantage” are trademarks of Sierra Wireless. Other product or service names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements relate to, among other things, plans and timing for the introduction or enhancement of our services and products, statements about future market conditions, supply conditions, channel and end customer demand conditions, revenues, gross margins, operating expenses, profits, and other expectations, intentions, and plans contained in this press release that are not historical fact. Our expectations regarding future revenues and earnings depend in part upon our ability to successfully develop, manufacture, and supply products that we do not produce today and that meet defined specifications. When used in this press release, the words "plan", "expect", "believe", and similar expressions generally identify forward-looking statements. These statements reflect our current expectations. They are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, changes in technology and changes in the wireless data communications market. In light of the many risks and uncertainties surrounding the wireless data communications market, you should understand that we cannot assure you that the forward-looking statements contained in this press release will be realized.