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OtterBox acquires rival LifeProof

Leading tough case manufacturer OtterBox has made its first major acquisition, bringing the fast-growing LifeProof under its umbrella.

The popular LifeProof case joins the OtterBox family.

If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em.

OtterBox, which struggled for months to bring a waterproof iPhone case to market, has acquired rival LifeProof, which makes one of the best -- and best-selling -- tough iPhone cases.

Colorado-based OtterBox has been a leading case manufacturer for a variety of smartphones and tablets and has quickly grown to employ 650 people worldwide. LifeProof, based in San Diego and founded in 2009 by Australian Gary Rayner, employees 250 people.

OtterBox says those 250 employees are now "members of the OtterBox family and will remain in their San Diego location for the foreseeable future." Over the next 30 days, OtterBox will begin incorporating the LifeProof brand into that OtterBox family.

LifeProof just unveiled a waterproof iPad Mini case at the CTIA trade show in Las Vegas (it's expected to ship in June for $99.99), and a LifeProof case for the Samsung Galaxy S4 is expected to ship by mid summer.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but it was likely in the tens of millions of dollars and perhaps even more. In 2012, OtterBox had approximately $600 million in revenues. That was up from $10.8 million in 2008.

Yes, the iPhone-case game is big business.

LifeProof's $99.99 waterproof iPad Mini case, which ships in June (click image to enlarge). LifeProof