By Mike Rogoway The Oregonian
MKS Instruments sold 3 buildings to Columbia Sportswear
MKS Instruments says it plans to maintain Oregon operations of roughly 300 employees it acquired when it paid $1 billion for Electro Scientific Industries last year.
MKS agreed last week to sell three buildings that comprised ESI’s Washington County headquarters to Columbia Sportswear.
The $33 million deal gives Columbia one of the most prominent pieces of corporate real estate in the metro area — tens of thousands of drivers pass by every day headed east from Portland along U.S. Highway 26. Columbia said it will expand its existing headquarters nearby into the old ESI space.
Massachusetts-based MKS is looking for space nearby in Beaverton, aiming to lease about half the 200,000 square feet it just sold to Columbia.
“It was a simple way to consolidate into one location in Portland as the current space we owned was historically too large even for ESI before the merger with MKS Instruments,” MKS Chief Financial Officer Seth Bagshaw wrote in an email.
“Columbia Sportswear was a very interested buyer so the opportunity presented itself.”
ESI made laser tools for Apple and other electronics manufacturers, who use them to drill holes in circuit boards and other computing hardware.
The longtime Oregon tech company is now the equipment and solutions division of MKS.
That division has 700 employees altogether, according to MKS, roughly the same number ESI employed before its sale.
That includes 300 in Oregon, split between the former Portland headquarters and a factory in Klamath Falls that historically employed 80.
Bagshaw said Monday that his company expects to maintain the operations at both Oregon sites at their current levels.
“We are very pleased with the depth and strength of expertise of our employees in Portland and that expertise was a critical part of our thought process in acquiring ESI,” Bagshaw said in an email.