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Itron Short Circuit

November 18

A few weeks back, electic metering giant Itron (Nasdaq: ITRI) made the unusual and generally unremarked announcement that it had spun off the assets of LineSoft, a company it bought for $42 million only two years earlier. The acquisition was one of a number that Itron consummated during that period, including RER and Silicon Energy.

The LineSoft unwind features Itron’s granting of exclusive licenses for LineSoft’s transmission and substation design software products to Pondera Engineers, a new Spokane-based firm founded by former LineSoft managers. Among LineSoft’s products are design tools TL-Pro and TLCADD.

It appears that Itron not only granted Pondera the full value of its recent purchase, but extended additional funding or other resources to jump-start the independent company’s operations and assure continuous LineSoft customer support.

That is, Itron Chairman and CEO LeRoy Nosbaum states, "By supplying Pondera with the support and resources that a startup company requires, Itron has successfully enabled a new energy technology company to emerge….”

Further details, like whether Itron was awarded royalties from or equity in the new business, were not forthcoming, though Pondero’s structure – that of an LLC – would seem to make equity ownership unlikely.

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