Francisco Partners Acquires Universal, Hover Davis


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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. Francisco Partners, a technology-focused private equity firm, signed an agreement with Dover Technologies International to purchase Universal Instruments. The acquisition deal includes Vitronics-Soltec (Stratham, N.H.) and Rochester, N.Y.-based Hover-Davis, Inc., which will be run as separate entities. Further transaction terms were not disclosed at this time.

Universal will operate under its current management team, as well as its current product roadmap, says Jim Silkworth, director of human resources Universal. The recently created Unovis will be part of the acquisition as a legal entity of Universal, said George Westby of Unovis. Aligning with Francisco will give Universal a partner with more experience and time in the electronics industry than Dover. "Internally this acquisition does not change us. It's just a better fit for an investment partner," he explained.

Our intense investment schedule and manufacturing facilities in Binghamton, N.Y.; and Shekou, China, will continue operations, notes Universal Instruments' president Jeroen Schmits. No facilities at all will be closed, Silkworth adds. Vitronics and Universal will continue to operate as completely separate businesses, as they did under Dover.

Francisco Partners chose Universal due to the strength of their products and workforce, according to Dipanjan Deb, managing partner of the equity firm. The firm is interested in long-term growth in the electronics market. Its portfolio includes C-MAC, a design, manufacturing, and testing company for high-performance, high-reliability microcircuits and frequency control products; and Credence, which provides test solutions for assembly contractors. "Francisco focuses exclusively on investing in technology companies and sees an opportunity to grow in the electronic assembly equipment market through the acquisition of Universal," said Universal's Karen Moore Watts.

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