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What happened?
Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE:HON) is pushing deeper into the market for security solutions and fire detection products. The company announced it has reached an agreement to acquire privately held Xtralis, a manufacturer of such goods. The price is $480 million, and the recipients are funds related to private equity companies Pacific Equity Partners and Blum Capital Partners.

Once in the Honeywell portfolio, Xtralis will be folded into its new parent's security and fire unit, which in turn is part of its automation and control solutions division.

In the press release heralding the acquisition, Honeywell quoted Alex Ismail, CEO of the division, as saying that "Xtralis' early smoke detection and advanced security technologies and video analytics software complement our growing Security and Fire business, and show our commitment to making the world safer and more secure."

Honeywell expects the acquisition to close in the second quarter of this year. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

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Does it matter?
In a way, Honeywell is bucking the current trend for incumbent conglomerates. Many of these are concentrated on hiving off pieces of their businesses, subtracting rather than adding. Witness the trajectory of General Electric, which lately has been slimming down to something that resembles its traditional industrial products core.

For Honeywell, acquisitions seem to be the chosen path to growth just now. That's a sensible way to go, given that recent profitability has been driven by cost-cutting rather than improved sales -- fiscal 2015's revenue dropped by 4% compared to the previous year, while the bottom line was up by 12%.

To that end, Xtralis seems like a good buy; it's a company with a wide product line that'll complement Honeywell's current offerings, and it's been in business for several decades (thus presumably knows its markets well). Certainly, $480 million isn't chump change, but for a company the size and scope of Honeywell, it's quite affordable for an asset that can potentially mesh very well with existing operations.

Eric Volkman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of General Electric. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.