Big M&A: Rocky 2020 Can’t Stop Frontier Divestment, Cisco Technology Acquisitions


Networking and cybersecurity

Coronavirus hasn’t stopped B2B technology players like Cisco and NetApp from making acquisitions in 2020.

Arlin Sorensen of ConnectWise

ConnectWise’s Arlin Sorensen

Although an economic recession has spurred layoffs across many companies, other businesses have proceeded with M&A activity.

But for many of those companies making transactions, the methodology has shifted significantly in recent months, according to ConnectWise’s Arlin Sorensen. Sorensen said buyers had been putting a significant amount of up-front cash into their deals; however, after statewide lockdowns went into effect, purchasing agreements made more stipulations about performance.

“Nobody really knows what’s going to happen in the second half of the year and into next year,” Sorensen said in a podcast interview. “So there’s not as much willingness to put all that cash on the line upfront. They want some shared risk.”

The M&A activity varied. For example, Dell is reportedly considering a sale of its VMware stake and Tech Data has officially come under private equity ownership. Meanwhile, on the buyer side, Microsoft bought a robotic process automation capability to improve its workflow software.

Read the 11 mini-stories in our gallery below that summarize the most channel-relevant technology acquisitions of May and June 2020.

Then, you should check out our previous M&A recap, which covered March and April.

Datapipe's Robb Allen


Frontier Communications sold its Northwest operations and assets.

The telecommunications company unloaded $1.35 billion to WaveDivision Capital. As a result, Ziply Fiber is the new name and face of the assets. Moreover, Ziply will pour $500 million into improving the network.

If you believe Channel Partners readers, there are a few bumps in the transition.

Datapipe's Robb Allen

Tech Data

The distributor officially belongs to Apollo Management Group.

The private equity firm announced its plans to buy Tech Data last November, but the approximately $5.4 billion didn't become official until last month. Tech Data executives shared their excitement for the $750 million investment that will go into the company. 

Lynn Haber covered the story for Channel Futures.
Datapipe's Robb Allen


Dell Technologies is considering divesting its VMware stake, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The rumors swirled four weeks ago that Dell might sell the part of VMware that it owns. Dell's stake adds up to 81% of the virtualization giant.

Just five months ago, Dell announced its plans to sell its RSA cybersecurity business. In the meantime VMware has been making multiple acquisitions of its own.

Read about the rumors.
Datapipe's Robb Allen


Cisco will improve its visibility across enterprise and cloud networks, thanks to a new acquisition.

ThousandEyes, a 400-employee software firm, is joining the Cisco fold. The 10-year-old company provides network intelligence that its buyer will utilize. For instance, Cisco will embed the ThousandEyes platform across its enterprise cloud and AppDynamics portfolio.

Find out why ThousandEyes was a good fit for Cisco.
Datapipe's Robb Allen


The software giant bought a robotic process automation (RPA) provider.

Softomotive, whose RPA tool helps unskilled coders automate routine workflows, is now part of Microsoft. The corporation will use the tool to enhance its Power Automate service — also known as Microsoft Flow.

Jeffrey Schwartz wrote about how the deal will impact Microsoft.
Datapipe's Robb Allen


The data services company is shelling out a reported $450 million for a cloud infrastructure startup.

NetApp announced plans to buy Spot, whose compute platform will work with NetApp's storage platform to optimize customer workloads. NetApp's Anthony Lyle said partners can offer savings of up to 70%.

NetApp also made M&A announcements regarding Talon and CloudJumper during the spring.

Get details on the acquisition.
Datapipe's Robb Allen

Open Systems

The secure access service edge (SASE) provider bought a Microsoft gold partner.

The Switzerland-based company acquired Born in the Cloud, which provides cybersecurity for Microsoft Azure. Open Systems, which also partners with Microsoft, also recently launched a managed detection and response (MDR) service. 

Edward Gately has the scoop.
Datapipe's Robb Allen

Cloud Bolt

Cloud management platform provider CloudBolt bought SovLabs for three reasons.

According to executives, the transaction increases CloudBolt's customer base and employee count. Moreover, the deal harnesses SovLab's technology to better serve customers that use VMware vRealize.

CloudBolt's new CEO said MSPs and resellers stand to earn more margin as a result of the upgraded technological capabilities.

“Despite the climate we’re in, I’m very optimistic about the opportunities for CloudBolt’s channel partners in 2020 and beyond," the CEO said.

Read about Cloud Bolt's purchase.
Datapipe's Robb Allen

Park Place

Park Place Technologies expanded its third-party maintenance capabilities with an acquisition.

The Ohio-based company bought CHE Consulting, which provides maintenance for storage, networking, mid-range equipment and mainframes. CHE offers the support services in 37 states.

Park Place also is making moves in the channel, having recently hired a channel chief.

Learn about Park Place's channel plans.
Datapipe's Robb Allen


Saalex Information Technology bought two companies in the spring.

After agreeing to terms with MSP Valeo Networks, Saalex acquired Arctic MSP. As a result, the California-based managed security services provider (MSSP) grew its footprint in Arizona (Valeo) and Oregon (Arctic). The purchaser aims to become a national MSP/MSSP.

Learn about the transaction.
Datapipe's Robb Allen


Panzura executives hope to invest more in their partner program following a private equity acquisition.

Profile Capital Management recently bought the collaboration and storage platform provider, which is known for its Freedom global cloud file system. Panzura's recently appointed CEO told us she hopes to enlarge the company's channel program. Although Panzura launched a partner program only two years ago, it is growing faster than any other area of the company.

Kelly Teal detailed Panzura's channel aspirations.

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