Toshiba, Harris Plan Israel R&D Centers Following Acquisitions

Japanese giant buys OCZ Technology and U.S. firm Harris buys Imagine Communications, both of which operate local R&D centers.

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Japan’s Toshiba and the U.S. company Harris Broadcast are set to open their first research and development centers in Israel after each acquired a U.S. technology company with Israeli operations in separate deals this week.

The two will join more than 250 multinational R&D centers in the country that employ tens of thousands, operated by companies that include Intel, Apple, Samsung and Siemens. Foreing R&D centers account for most of the corporate R&D spending in Israel.

Imagine Communications, whose technology rapidly encodes video in different formats, was acquired by Harris, the two sides said on Wedneday, for a sum neither side disclosed. Industry sources said, however, that it was well in excess of the $34 million that venture capital funds Carmel Ventures, Columbia Capital and Court-Square Ventures have invested in the company since its founding eight years ago. In its last financing round three years ago, Imagine Communications raised $10 million.

Imagine Communications is headquartered in San Diego but 20 of the company’s 50 or so employees its R&D and engineering operations are in Netanya, which Harris Broadcast will operate as its own R&D center in Israel following the acquisition. Imagine Communications was founded by Ron Gutman and Doron Segev. Both of whom had worked at BigBand Networks, which like Imagine Communications is in the field of digital-video transfer. Relations between the two companies are tense after BigBand sued Imagine for patent infringement in 2007.

Japan’s Toshiba acquired the assets and operations of OCZ Technology Group, for $35 million, the company said on Tuesday. Last week the Nasdaq-traded company, which manufactures computer components, declared bankruptcy. As part of the deal Toshiba will gain OCZ’s R&D centers for micro-controllers and software in Israel and Britain.

OCZ established an R&D center in Israel when it acquired Sanrad in 2012 from the RAD group. The Israeli R&D center employs 20 people and is led by former Sanrad CEO Oded Ilan. OCZ was founded in 2002 and is based in San Jose.

Toshiba President and CEO Hisao Tanaka.Credit: Bloomberg

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