Ericsson buys antenna and filters business of Germany's Kathrein

FILE PHOTO: The Ericsson logo is seen at the Ericsson's headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden June 14, 2018. Picture taken June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Olof Swahnberg

STOCKHOLM/BARCELONA (Reuters) - Swedish mobile network equipment maker Ericsson said on Monday it was buying the antenna and filters division of Germany’s Kathrein in a move which will boost its 5G product portfolio as antenna technology becomes increasingly important.

Ericsson said in a statement that the acquired business had sales of around 270 million euros ($306 million) last year, excluding sales to Ericsson, and around 4,000 staff.

“With this acquisition we strengthen our presence, first of all for 4G...but also ultimately in 5G. It’s a strategically very important acquisition for us,” Ericsson Chief Executive Borje Ekholm told Reuters in an interview at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Ericsson said mobile networks increasingly depended on antenna technology, with more integration of antennas and radios and increasing use of active antennas in next-generation 5G.

“With more powerful 5G networks coming, this impacts antenna technology development further to provide the needed performance, capacity and coverage,” it said.

Ericsson, one of the world’s largest mobile network gear suppliers together with Finland’s Nokia and China’s Huawei Technologies, said the two companies had agreed not to disclose the purchase price.

“In addition to broadening Ericsson’s portfolio of antenna and filter products, the acquisition will bring vital competence for the evolution of advanced radio network products,” the company said.

Ericsson said it expected to close the deal in the third quarter of this year subject to customary conditions and regulatory approvals.

Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom in Stockholm and Jack Stubbs/Douglas Busvine in Barcelona; editing by Helena Soderpalm, Jason Neely and Kirsten Donovan