SANTA ROSA -- Agilent Technologies (NYSE: A), which employs 1,000 in Santa Rosa, where its test and measurement group is based, signed a $9 million deal with Cleveland-based Keithley Instruments (NYSE: KEI) to acquire a product line under development in Santa Rosa.

About two dozen employees work at the Keithley lab, located at 463 Aviation Blvd. in Santa Rosa. Agilent is offering them jobs, according to the two companies.

The transaction is set to close Nov. 30.

“Because we have placed a high emphasis on profitability in fiscal 2010 and beyond, we concluded that we could no longer continue to support our significant investment in RF measurement products and should instead focus on growing our core business,” said Joseph Keithley, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The impact of the economic downturn changed the expected timing of the returns we were anticipating from our RF product line, extending them beyond a time-frame that we were willing to continue to support."

Sales for Keithley in fiscal 2009, ended Sept. 30, were $102.5 million, off by 33 percent from fiscal 2008, and orders decreased 37 percent to $98.5 million. The company's net loss expanded to $50.5 million, including special charges, from $2.6 million in fiscal 2008.

On Nov. 13, Agilent reported fourth-quarter revenue from its Santa Rosa-based group slumped 29 percent from a year ago, although it was an improvement from the previous period and a sign of a stabilizing global market, according to company officials. Overall, quarterly earnings decreased 21 percent from the same period last year, a sequential gain from the 27 percent decrease in the third quarter. The company lifted pay cuts Nov. 1.

Keithley set up the design center for radio-frequency products in 2004, tapping into a pool of employees let go from Agilent and other Sonoma County high-tech companies during a slump in sales of telecommunications equipment.