ALISO VIEJO, Calif. ( ChipWire) -- In a rare case of a semiconductor supplier acquiring a system OEM that serves a similar vertical market, QLogic Inc. here has made a $1.8 billion stock offer for Ancor Communications Inc., a Fibre Channel switching system specialist in Eden Prairie, Minn.
Ancor began life as a storage-controller card company, but expanded into box-level Fibre Channel switches in the mid-1990s, and competed with the likes of Brocade Communications Inc. and Gadzoox Inc. while restricting its offerings to OEM sales. Intel Corp. became a minority investor in Ancor in late 1999 to help drive the design of new storage-switching architectures.
Both Ancor and QLogic have concentrated in recent months on storage-area network (SAN) markets, where distributed storage is expected to utilize the intelligent mesh-based switching of high-speed channels such as Fibre Channel. Though long anticipated as the next billion-dollar campus to metropolitan market, SAN growth has continued to lag the expansion of general metropolitan-area and wide-area networks, which have restrained the gains of virtually all companies competing in the distributed storage market.