CHELMSFORD, Mass. ( TheStreet) -- Voltaire ( VOLT) shares surged Monday morning on news of the switchmaker's acquisition by data center specialist Mellanox ( MLNX).

Shares of Voltaire were rising $2.22, or 34.53%, to $8.65, while Mellanox shares were dropping $1.05 to $24.16.

Mellanox, which makes switches as well as adapters for connecting servers and storage, will pay $8.75 a share for Voltaire in a deal worth around $218 million. The transaction, which has already been approved by the companies' boards, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011.

The deal ends weeks of speculation about Voltaire's future and is the latest in a string of data center-related acquisitions. IBM ( IBM), for example, recently acquired Blade Network Technologies and Netezza, while HP ( HPQ) out-muscled Dell ( DELL) to acquire storage maker 3Par ( PAR).

Cisco ( CSCO) rival Voltaire was itself recently touted as acquisition bait for IBM, thanks largely to close relationship with Blade Network Technologies.

Voltaire made its name selling InfiniBand switches, but it entered the 10-Gbit/s Ethernet market last year in an attempt to claw share from Cisco's Nexus switch. The 10-Gbit/s Ethernet product is aimed at firms connecting large numbers of servers across multiple data centers, something crucial to firms looking to consolidate IT gear.

During its recent third-quarter results, Voltaire grew its revenue 25% compared to the same period last year and predicted 2010 sales at the top end of its guidance.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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