Windstream’s Broadview Networks Acquisition Has Channel Talking

Windstream Broadview

Master agents that work with Broadview Networks have varying opinions regarding Windstream’s planned acquisition of the cloud-based UC provider.

Broadview offers a suite of cloud-based services under the OfficeSuite UC brand. The $227.5 million all-cash transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

Sandler Partners' Curt AllenMichael Flannery, Windstream’s senior vice president of CLEC SMB, told Channel Partners that the acquisition makes Windstream a stronger competitor in an attractive, high-growth market.

Curt Allen, Sandler Partners’ president of channel, said the acquisition is “an interesting play for Windstream.”

“We really like the leadership and sales leadership at Broadview,” he said. “(Broadview senior vice president) Donna Wenk has built a great group to lead their initiative to escape the regional CLEC box and become a national service provider through their hosted UCaaS offering. If only for that, we think Windstream made a good acquisition. Since there were not a ton of in-ground assets that were purchased, we think the move was about capitalizing on the Broadview business transformation more than the assets. We hope Windstream will value the Broadview sales leadership team’s approach and results, and keep that model moving forward. The UCaaS platform Broadview built has some unique differentiators that help them in the market and, again, they have some great people selling and supporting it. We hope Windstream will augment, not replace those things.”{ad}

Karin Fields, MicroCorp’s CEO/COO, said the acquisition is “interesting, especially so soon after EarthLink.” Windstream completed its $1.1 billion merger with EarthLink in February.

Intelisys' Andrew Pryfogle“I am sure (Windstream) CEO Tony Thomas has a good reason for this,” she said. “Broadview offers a unique technology in the hosted space. We are going to see a few more providers acquiring/merging with VoIP companies in 2017.”

Andrew Pryfogle, Intelisys’ senior vice president of cloud transformation, said industry consolidation among vendors underscores the “importance for sales partners to align with a master agent that has strong relationships with the vendors in question.”

“This assures security around channel business, revenue and contract protection,” he said. “Having ranked No. 1 in both new sales and TBR with both Windstream and Broadview Networks in 2016, we are confident that Intelisys’ sales partners will ultimately benefit from this acquisition; we will assist them in navigating the integration via our strong operational relationships, and we look forward to the future opportunities that arise from this merger.”

Adam Edwards, Telarus’ co-founder and CEO, said Broadview has a unique platform, but it hasn’t had the scale it thinks it should have “based on [its] superior product.”

“Now with Windstream, they’re going to have the scale they want,” he said. “Windstream as well — good move for them because they’re building a UC practice and see themselves as a UC player. They currently resell Avaya and Mitel, but now they’ve just acquired a proprietary platform. So a great move for Windstream, good move for Broadview as well, and we look forward to success from both of them.”

Seth Woodward, TBI’s vendor business development specialist, sees SMBs and their channel partners as the ultimate winners.{ad}

“The acquisition of Broadview Networks signals a return to the SMB for Windstream, as Broadview was strongest in the 25-500 user range. If Windstream can leverage Broadview’s capabilities to strengthen [its] Allworx platform, there will be opportunities for channel partners to capture greater wallet share through a tailored SMB voice solution. The combination of the EarthLink and Broadview acquisitions indicates Windstream will focus on building dominance in the retail vertical, and likely remove the $1,500 MRR minimum to recapture a large portion of the SMB market.”

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