General Electric's decision to acquire Lineage Power Holdings reflects the growing importance of power electronics amid the explosive growth of portable computers and phones.
GE yesterday said it has signed a deal to pay about $520 million for Atlanta-based Lineage Power to beef up its energy and electric grid-related portfolio.
It gives GE efficient power-conversion products--the hardware needed to convert between alternating current and direct current--used by telecommunications companies and data center operators.
"Every new mobile device plugs into an infrastructure that requires an ever increasing amount of high-quality power. The growth in high-bandwidth mobile Internet applications and cloud computing is accelerating that demand," Dan Heintzelman, GE Energy Services CEO, said in a statement.
Lineage makes equipment for converting power in computing and networking products, including batteries, power distribution units, and AC-DC power supplies. Its equipment is optimized for efficiency and can work with alternative energy sources, such as fuel cells and wind and solar, according to the company.
The company said its products reduce energy loss from AC-to-DC conversions and lower the cooling costs in data centers and telecom infrastructure, such as cell phone towers. Demand for its equipment is poised to grow as more smartphones, e-books, and tablet computers connect to the Internet over 3G and 4G networks, Lineage Power CEO Craig Witsoe said in a statement.
The acquisition follows previous investments GE has made in companies developing software to make data centers more efficient. But GE executives have singled out power electronics as a technology and expertise that it needs more of across the board in its energy business.