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Chicago Tribune

Dover to Spin Off Knowles Communication Tech Unit

Dover Corp. plans to spin off it communication technologies unit into an independent, publicly traded company, the Downers Grove-based company said Thursday morning.

Dover shares rose nearly 5 percent in morning trading.

Upon completion of the spin off, the new company will be called Knowles Corp. and headquartered in Itasca. Its product lines include acoustic components, including MEMs microphones, speakers, receivers and transducers, as well as infrastructure components under the brands Sound Solutions, Knowles, Dielectric, Novacap, Syfer and Vectra.

Jeffrey Niew, who currently heads Dover's communication technologies unit, will serve as president and chief executive officer of Knowles when the deal closes.

"Given the evolution of their unique business model, these businesses can now pursue a more aggressive growth strategy together as a standalone company," Robert A. Livingston, Dover’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Knowles, on a pro-forma basis for 2013, will have $1.3 billion in annual revenue, with about two-thirds derived from high-growth acoustic products, the company said.

Knowles was founded in 1946 by Hugh Knowles, an audio engineer who was instrumental in the development of the modern hearing aid. The family ran the company until 1999, when it was sold to investors. Dover bought it in 2005 for $750 million.

In 2011, Knowles employed about 210 people in Itasca and about 7,000 worldwide, including China, Japan and Malaysia.