Eleven years ago, former Agilent Technologies engineer Julio Perdomo left Sonoma County's largest high-tech manufacturer to launch his own startup. On Friday, he sold a chunk of it back to his former employer.

Agilent announced a deal Friday to acquire the test equipment division of Centellax, the company co-founded by Perdomo in 2001 after a 16-year career at Agilent and its predecessor, Hewlett-Packard.

"Agilent is the No. 1 test company in the world. I feel it's a validation of what we've done. We're very proud of the products we developed," Perdomo said.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Most of the 35 employees in Centellax's test division will be offered jobs with Agilent in Santa Rosa, the companies said.

Centellax will keep its larger component division, which is also located in Santa Rosa, Perdomo said.

"This is a great opportunity for customers and employees," Perdomo said.

The deal is expected to close in two weeks.

"This will be a great addition to our product portfolio," said Agilent spokesman Jeff Weber.

Based in Santa Clara, Agilent employs about 1,150 workers in Santa Rosa, headquarters for its global test-and-measurement business.

Privately-held Centellax designs and manufactures equipment used to test high-speed digital communication systems and components. Its portfolio of products includes signal generators and bit-error ratio testers.

The global market for bit-error ratio testing (BERT) technology should reach nearly $1 billion by 2017, according to a report this month by Global Industry Analysts, a research and consulting firm. Such testing helps identify the cause of network malfunctions, a critical issue as networks carry more data at higher speeds.

"We are very excited about combining the strengths of both companies in the BERT application space," said Juergen Beck, manager of Agilent's digital and photonic test unit. "Adding Centellax products and technology enables us to address the complete lifecycle needs of our customers and underlines our commitment to this industry."

Centellax's test portfolio also includes pattern generators, clock synthesizers, signal-integrity studio software and test accessories.

Perdomo launched the business with three friends in Santa Rosa during the middle of a recession and the company released its first product the following year. It is headquartered on Brickway Boulevard near Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.

Centellax's separate component business makes amplifier modules, optical modular drivers and frequency prescalers for telecom and microwave applications.