EF Johnson Technologies recently announced that JVCKenwood, the Japanese corporation that owns Kenwood USA, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire EF Johnson in a deal that is expected to close next month.

EF Johnson Technologies, which celebrated its 90th anniversary last year, will continue to operate as a separate company with its existing brand, just as Kenwood USA has since being purchased by JVCKenwood in 2008, according to Karthik Rangarajan, vice president of marketing and product development for EF Johnson Technologies.

 JVCKenwood is purchasing EF Johnson from Francisco Partners, the private equity group that acquired the longtime LMR manufacturer in 2010.

The acquisition should help EF Johnson compete in the LMR marketplace, Rangarajan said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications.

“Obviously, private equity ownership casts a little bit of uncertainty. People wonder, ‘What is their core business? It’s obviously not running a company through eternity; it’s a private-equity company,’” he said. “Also, we’re about a 250-employee company, and our financials are in line with that scale. So, when we go up against the big boys in LMR—Motorola, Harris and so forth—that scale always presents a challenge.

“Now, with this acquisition, we’re immediately on par with our competitors. We’re a $3 billion company, with a third of that in communications, and communications is a long-term, strategic growth business for [JVCKenwood). So, from a corporate-scale perspective, all of that puts us on par with our top competitors.”

JVCKenwood’s scale and resources also should help EF Johnson invest in technology innovation in the long term, Rangarajan said. In the short term, JVC Kenwood expects EF Johnson to lead the Japanese company’s P25 infrastructure initiative, while Kenwood USA will continue to focus on subscriber devices and its NEXEDGE radio technology, according to an EF Johnson press release.

“This alliance brings key strengths together that will benefit our current and future public-safety customers,” JVCKenwood Chairman and CEO Haruo Kawahara said in a prepared statement. “We now have complete turnkey P25 infrastructure capability, mission-critical P25 radios with multiband capability and value-focused P25 radios for a wider range of customers.

“With this complete P25 product portfolio and our market-leading NEXEDGE® digital radio technology, we are poised to significantly increase our global market share in professional wireless communications.”