Zebra Technologies said it will acquire WhereNet, a Santa Clara, Calif. provider of active radio frequency identification (RFID) based wireless products that track and manage enterprise assets, for $126 million in cash.

WhereNet had raised more than $80 million over ten years from investors including Bay Partners, Crescendo, Ford Motor, Crosspoint, RWI, and Sun Microsystems. According to PE Week, this included a $10 million round in 2003, at a post-money valuation of approximately $76 million.

Zebra is based in Vernon Hills, Illinois.

From the company’s statement:

…WhereNet provides integrated wireless Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS) to companies primarily in the industrial manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and aerospace and defense sectors. Founded in 1997, it has more than 150 installations currently in operation helping companies locate and track high value assets with wireless tags, fixed-position antennas and Web-enabled software.

WhereNet solutions are used to increase the accuracy, velocity, efficiency, and security of time-critical processes throughout the supply chain. They are employed in parts replenishment, vehicle inventory tracking, truck yard management, marine cargo tracking, and work-in-process tracking, among many other applications. WhereNet’s solutions span hardware, middleware, application software, and services for project management, maintenance and support.

Zebra management expects WhereNet to generate sales of approximately $50 million in 2007, up from $36 million in 2006. The acquisition is expected to be minimally dilutive to Zebra’s net income in 2007 and be accretive thereafter. Zebra will operate WhereNet as a separate business unit.

(This story first posted 1/12)