8x8 Dives Into Cloud Computing With Central Host Buy

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8x8 Inc. (EGHT) dove into the cloud computing fray this month with the acquisition of Central Host Inc.

8x8, which sells IP-based business communications equipment and platforms, said it bought managed hosted services and cloud-computing firm Central Host Inc. on May 1. 8x8 paid $1 million in cash – equal to a year’s worth of Central Host revenue – and issued 432,276 shares of its common stock to Central Host founder Andrew Schwabecher. The shares weren’t registered for sale. Schwabecher may sell up to 50 percent of those shares before May 1, 2011, and may sell the rest if he is still employed by 8x8 as of May 1, 2012. But if he leaves 8x8 within two years, he can’t sell the remaining shares until May 1, 2013, 8x8 said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

California-based 8x8 said it purchased Central Host for its managed hosting and cloud expertise. Like 8x8, Central Host has specialized in the business market, working to help client cut in-house equipment and personnel costs. Central Host operates three data centers in Silicon Valley and another in New York City.

"Adding managed hosting and cloud computing services to our business service offerings is an ideal extension of our current business," said Bryan Martin, chairman and CEO of 8x8 Inc. "We are excited to provide additional enterprise-class services to our customer base, giving us multiple best-of-breed offerings to sell to the same installed base.

“Central Host's customers are ideal targets for 8x8's communications services, and we believe that many of 8x8's existing customers will benefit from the performance attributes and disruptive pricing of the Central Host offerings,” 8x8 Chairman and CEO Bryan Martin said in a prepared statement.

Central Host has moved into 8x8’s Sunnyvale headquarters.

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