Irvine News and Notes for September 2016
Irvine’s mergers and acquisitions action continues, with global brands seeing value in what the city’s business brains have created.
Vizio disrupted the electronics industry with its budget/high definition/smart TVs, but the bill for Chinese company LeEco to acquire William Wang’s world-class company wasn’t cheap: $2 billion. The company will keep its management team in Irvine, according to reports.
Compass Diversified came straight out of Connecticut to lock up Irvine’s 5.11 Tactical with a $400 million acquisition of the company known for making public-safety uniforms and gear sold to the FBI, military, police departments and government agencies. 5.11 plans to keep its headquarters in Irvine and has no plans for layoffs.
Other big sales of Irvine-based businesses this year include Broadcom to Singapore’s Avago Technologies for $37 billion; Ingram Micro to China’s Tianjin Tianhai for $6 billion; and Multi-Fineline Electronix to China’s Suzhou Dongshan for $610 million. Nuke cleanup specialist Kurion avoided the China syndrome of sales, going for $350 million to French firm Veolia, while Irvine’s Newport Corp. went for $980 million to MKS Instruments of Methuen, Massachusetts.
Other Irvine companies are buyers, as Jonathan Lansner pointed out in his OC Register column, including Microsemi’s $2 billion merger with storage technology specialist PMC Sierra and Western Digital’s $15.78 billion buyout of SanDisc.
So what does all this acquisitional action say about business in Irvine? It’s disruptive to development and commercial real estate, certainly, as seen by shifts in Broadcom’s plans affecting its headquarters building under construction. And certainly laid-off workers aren’t celebrating. But it’s fair to be bullish, too. The business world looks to Irvine’s entrepreneurial success stories, just as the rest of the world looks to our schools, safe streets and beautiful neighborhoods.
Trump’s UCI connection
We imagine UCI professor Peter Navarro has a different opinion about China’s role in Irvine’s business community. Navarro’s book, “Death by China,” (also a documentary film) is critical of the country’s influence in shaping the global economy. Donald Trump took notice, and added the professor to his economic advisory council, which is helping set the presidential candidate’s anti-trade platform.
In less globally significant local business news, engaging and entertaining design personality Kelli Ellis is slated as keynote speaker at the 2016 Business Bootcamp, put on by Irvine Chamber of Commerce. Ellis is well known to fans of interior design-oriented reality shows, including TLC’S “Clean Sweep” and HGTV’s “Takeover My Makeover.” On the less-stylish side of the dial, she’s the go-to designer for “Real Housewives of Orange County.” But we don’t hold that against her.... much. The event is Oct. 20, 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., at the Irvine Marriott. Register at irvinechamber.com.