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Purchase of AMVC in Medford progresses

Purchase of AMVC in Medford progresses

Key Technology's plans to buy Medford-based Advanced Machine Vision got a boost Tuesday.

FMC Corp., which owns part of Advanced Machine, agreed to approve the deal, avoiding a tussle for ownership of the company.

Key's buyout is expected to close within 60 to 90 days.

Advanced Machine Vision Corp. makes optical sorting systems that spot defects primarily in the food and wood products industries. Company officials say the deal will create an industry leader in sorting systems. Key is one of Advanced Machine's leading competitors.

AMVC has two subsidiaries: Medford's SRC Vision with 145 employees and Eugene's Ventek Inc. with 20. The company has suffered through financial troubles in recent years and put itself up for sale after losing $2.9 million in 1999.

In February, Advanced Machine agreed to be purchased by Key Technology of Walla Walla, Wash., for a combination of cash, stock and stock options valued at about $35 million.

FMC Corp. originally offered to buy Advanced Machine itself and initially opposed Key's offer. FMC owns preferred stock that gives it the right to block any sale. Key had vowed to appeal directly to shareholders if FMC didn't grant its approval.

When the merger closes, FMC will convert its AMVC preferred stock and stock options into Key stock and options on Key stock.

The deal must still be approved by Key and Advanced Machine shareholders. The Securities and Exchange Commission also must approve Key's plan to issue additional stock for the deal.

Key, which trades on the Nasdaq as KTEC, has about 475 employees at three plants, two in Washington and one in the Netherlands.

Advanced Machine officials have said the deal will likely result in some layoffs in the Medford operations but no dramatic changes are expected.