Test and measurement consolidation comes as companies look ahead to 5G.

Keysight on Monday announced that it will pay US$1.6 billion in cash for Ixia, a fellow U.S.-based test and measurement specialist in a deal it claims will help it to build scale and will bring together two companies with complementary skillsets.

The deal has been given the green light by both companies’ boards and should close no later than the end of October this year, subject to the usual conditions and approvals, Keysight said.

"The combination creates a powerful innovation engine to fuel growth, expands our software-centric solutions and builds new opportunities through sales and technology leverage," said Keysight CEO Ron Nersesian, in a statement.

He described the acquisition as "100% complementary to our business."

Keysight highlighted Ixia’s broad IP portfolio, which includes networking and wireless protocols that will extend its position in the wireless space, as a particular advantage. Together the two companies will be able to effectively address the 5G design and test ecosystem, the firm said.

Under the terms of the deal, Ixia shareholders will receive $19.65 per share. That figure represents a premium of around 45% on Ixia’s closing price on 1 December, the last day before the emergence of media reports that the firm was considering its strategic options for the future.