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Toshiba to snag smart-meter leader for $2.3 billion

Consolidation in the smart-meter market kicks in with Toshiba winning among bidders to buy Landis+Gyr for $2.3 billion.

Toshiba announced a deal today to acquire smart-meter company Landis+Gyr for $2.3 billion in a move to fill out its power business.

Landis+Gyr, founded in 1896 and based in Zug, Switzerland, is one of the largest makers of two-way smart meters. It has about 5,000 employees. Landis+Gyr will remain a unit within Toshiba and retain its brand.

Toshiba, which is known for its consumer electronics but is actually a massive conglomerate, said it bought Landis+Gyr to broaden the power-grid equipment that it sells to utilities.

"Our intent is to become a global leader in the smart community business by 2020," Toshiba Executive Vice President Hideo Kitamura said in a statement.

The deal comes after weeks of speculation over which companies, including General Electric, were bidding over Landis+Gyr.

Smart meters have a radio to send information from utility customers back to utilities, which allows utilities to quickly spot outages and more efficiently manage the flow of energy over the grid. Millions are projected to be installed in the U.S. over the next few years.

Toshiba already sells power equipment, such as transformers and turbines, to utilities. Through its consumer electronics division, Toshiba has been seeking to expand into in-home energy monitors.

The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter.