Protocol/CRS merger will be business as usual

Meg Villeneuve

PORTLAND, OR—With barely a hiccup in day-to-day operations, Protocol Inc. (Portland, OR), a cleanroom maintenance company, and Cleanroom Sciences Inc. (Phoenix, AZ), a standards and procedures specialist, have merged.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cleanroom Sciences (CRS) will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Protocol. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“CRS's core business is cleanroom testing, certification and monitoring; [however] we didn't know about sustaining cleaning in a cleanroom or protocol management, that's where Protocol came into play,” says Gary Rolf, president of CRS.

During the past year, there's been a trend among smaller companies to merge, increase their employee base and expand their product offerings to stay competitive. Both Protocol and CRS see themselves as no exception. “It's become fashionable for smaller companies to merge and become a more capable operation,” says Rolf. “We have each brought a new platform of users to [one another's] company.”

“My customers are the big chipmakers — as are Gary's — which is why we were able to mesh our customers, without overlapping,” says Don Frazier, president of Protocol.

However, the deal did not happen overnight. In fact, the two companies have been talking about a possible merger for the past two years.

“In order to survive in this business I knew I needed a strong certification division,” Frazier says. At the same time, CRS was looking to expand its business offerings into protocol management. CRS saw that expansion happening in one of two ways — create a division or merge with another company. They chose the latter.

As of April 2001, the merger was complete. The two companies will continue to operate at each of their locations.


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