With an eye on the lucrative and fast-moving arena and sports stadium lighting market, Hubbell Inc., Orange, Conn., bolstered its offering of lighting products with the acquisition of Sterner Lighting Systems Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Sterner, with estimated 1998 sales of about $30 million, designs and manufactures specification-grade outdoor lighting fixtures and custom lighting products. Sterner is especially prominent as a supplier of indoor sports and arena lighting.

Sterner will continue to operate with the same management out of Eden Prairie, and will report to Hubbell Lighting. The addition of Sterner fixtures and capabilities will broaden Hubbell Lighting's product offering for customers in industrial, commercial and institutional markets, according to a Hubbell press release.

Sterner focuses more than Hubbell on architectural-grade lighting equipment as well as custom-made lighting products.

"This is providing Hubbell with another strong specification line in their outdoor market, which is one of their strengths," says one manufacturers' representative for Hubbell. "Basically it's another notch on their belt. It's a highly specifiable product that falls in line with the recent acquisition of Devine (Lighting)--a highly stylized architectural line."

Hubbell bought Sterner Lighting Systems from Churchill Industries, Minneapolis, a conglomerate that owns many different types of manufacturing companies. Lydick sometimes found it difficult to explain the challenges of the lighting market to his former owner, and that he and his employees are excited about the prospect of being owned by a lighting company. He says they will be able to draw on Hubbell's experience with lighting fixture manufacturing systems.