I’m one of those who didn’t see the possible acquisition of LaBarge by a non-EMS firm.

In fact, I thought either LaBarge would continue to buy other, smaller EMS firms (I’ve heard of its interest in some deals that were never consummated), or it would be gobbled up by a Sanmina-SCI or the like.

But today defense supplier Ducommun announced it would acquire the electronics manufacturing services firm for $340 million, or just one times revenue plus debt. The move is expected to almost double Ducommun’s annual revenue and boost its margins.

Don’t expect those synergies to happen overnight, if ever. EMS is a different sell than the components like panels and switches Ducommun has made a living off of for more than 150 years.

Here’s a question: Does this, coupled with API Technologies’ recent acquisition of SenDec, signal a larger trend of consolidation on the competitive but relatively margin-friendly military EMS industry?

Another question: What becomes of Craig LaBarge, who has run the eponymously named firm since 1991, taking over for his father, who founded the company in 1953. Will he sit still on the sidelines, or will he take another shot at empire building?

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow