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Rockwell to Buy Jacobs Automation

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Rockwell Automation Inc. (ROK - Free Report) declared that it has agreed to acquire Jacobs Automation, a major player in intelligent track motion control technology. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close in Jan 2014.

Headquartered in Erlanger, Ky., Jacobs Automation develops reliable and sustainable solutions for the automation industry. The company is best known for its iTRAK technology. The technology offers independent control of multiple magnetically propelled movers on straight and curved paths.

The iTRAK technology is designed to enhance applications such as packaging, materials handling and other related services. The system helps machine and equipment builders reduce cost and complexity by supplying more speed and flexibility. Moreover, it enables better optimization, improved reliability and faster system deployment. The technology will be exhibited at the Automation Fair in Texas, beginning today.

Following the acquisition, Jacobs Automation will be integrated into Rockwell Automation's Architecture & Software segment. Rockwell will benefit from the combined strength of its integrated architecture and the iTRAK technology. The technology will also increase productivity and improve performance by reducing energy consumption.

Rockwell, which belongs to the industrial automation industry together with Adept Technology Inc. , HollySys Automation Technologies, Ltd. (HOLI - Free Report) and iRobot Corporation (IRBT - Free Report) , recently announced its intention to acquire vMonitor. vMonitor is a leading technology provider for wireless solutions in the oil and gas industry. The acquisition will strengthen Rockwell’s capacity to deliver end-to-end projects for the oil and gas sector.

Rockwell reported total revenues of $1,715.7 million in the fourth-quarter of fiscal 2013 (ended Sep 30, 2013), up 3% year over year. The results surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,695 million. Net sales from the Architecture & Software segment also increased 6% year over year to $714.3 million, contributing 42% to total sales.

Rockwell will gain from its expansion in the emerging markets and new acquisitions. Strong balance sheet position and free cash flow, dividends and share repurchases are also expected to generate long-term shareholder value. However, uncertainty in the global economic scenario remains headwinds.

Milwaukee, Wis.-based Rockwell is an original equipment manufacturer of industrial automation equipment, application specific integrated software and consulting design services. The company is a leading global provider of industrial automation power, control, and information solutions.

Rockwell currently holds a short-term Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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