Big M&A Update: Windstream, Verizon, Avaya, CenturyLink, More


We didn’t have to look far to fill this roundup of M&A updates and newly announced mergers and acquisitions.

March roared in with Verizon closing its Straight Path buy – paying a huge fine in the process – and CallTower diving deeper into the cloud by purchasing Appia. The month ended on a high with Plantronics saying it would snatch up Polycom for $2 billion and Windstream wrapping its acquisition of MassComm. In the middle was CenturyLink selling off assets as a condition of its Level 3 buy.

Those are just five of the 15 noteworthy mergers and acquisitions from March that are highlighted in our roundup below. Scroll through to catch up on who’s buying whom — and why. All have channel implications.

The consolidation craze continues!

Looking for more M&A? Click here to see the biggest channel-impacting mergers and acquisitions from February.

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

Avant's Rick Reed

Windstream wrapped its acquisition of MassComm, which the company first announced on Jan. 2.

MassComm designs, implements and supports custom networks to deliver a full suite of voice, data, risk management and security offerings to midsize global enterprise customers in the financial, legal, health care, technology, education and government sectors. The company works with hardware and software technology vendors, and MSPs, 

Windstream said MassComm’s “innovative services and customer base with Windstream’s larger CLEC operations and fiber network will enable the combined company to increase its competitiveness by expanding its portfolio of services, generating efficiencies that benefit customers, and serving more customers over its own facilities where it can.”
Telarus' Phillip Brekke

Plantronics, the headset maker, plans to spend $2 billion on Polycom, the UC provider, which a private-equity firm just bought a year-and-a-half ago.

Plantronics said the buy positions it to capture additional opportunities across the nearly $40 billion unified communications and collaboration (UCC) industry.

We talked to a pair of analysts about the deal, one of whom describes it as a "significant opportunity" for Plantronics, and another was more lukewarm on the idea.
AireSpring's Daniel Lonstein
Verizon-Straight Path

It was a good-news, bad-news situation for Verizon as the carrier closed its acquisition of Straight Path Communications.

The deal gave the carrier giant a lot more spectrum, but it was also forced to cough up a record fine issued by the FCC – $614 million – because Straight Path failed to use the spectrum licenses that the Commission had allotted it.

Verizon will use the spectrum bands to deploy its 5G network.
Infinidat's Mitch Diodato
Avaya-Spoken Communications

Avaya wrapped its purchase of Spoken Communications, the contact-center-as-a-service provider, an acquisition the company first announced at its Engage event earlier in the year. The Spoken platform accelerates Avaya’s growth in cloud-based services and provides a cloud platform for customers of all sizes, the company said.

“This acquisition is the latest example of how Avaya is now moving at cloud speed and investing for the future to provide our customers and partners with the innovative cloud solutions they need,” said Jim Chirico, Avaya’s president and CEO.
Avant's Rick Reed

GTT Communications, which is poised to close its purchase of Interoute this summer, will get a $175 million investment from Aleph Capital Partners and Crestview Partners, two of Interoute's largest shareholders.

The equity commitment will reduce the amount of debt to be issued by GTT to fund the acquisition on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
HYCU personnel
CenturyLink-Level 3

Here's one that never seems to be completely over. Despite the fact that CenturyLink closed its purchase of Level 3 Communications last November, there were still conditions to be met as recently as last month.

Per an agreement with the Department of Justice in getting the Level 3 deal done, CenturyLink sold off Level 3 assets in Boise, Idaho, to Syringa Networks, and in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Unite Private Networks.
Windstream's Adena Handly

File this one under a merger that didn't happen.

Broadcom was pursuing a massive $117 billion purchase of Qualcomm, but President Trump had nothing of it. A presidential order said the buy "might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States."

“Although Broadcom is based in Singapore, Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE have emerged as strong competitors in the race towards 5G," Brent Iadarola of Frost & Sullivan told us. "There is a real concern that the United States’ current competitive position in advancing next-generation networks such as 5G could be compromised with this acquisition.”
ADRF's Jim Lilienfeld

Carbonite closed the book on its acquisition of Mozy from Dell Technologies.

The deal joins two of the first cloud backup providers, expands Carbonite's customer base and gives it a solid foothold in the business and enterprise sectors that are so familiar to Dell EMC.

The $146 million deal gives Carbonite a stronger position in the disaster-recovery-as-a-service market.
Datapipe's Robb Allen
Opaq Networks-FourV Systems

Opaq Networks beefed up its security-as-a-service platform with performance and regulatory compliance measurement, monitoring and reporting. It comes via its purchase of FourV Systems.

FourV‘s GreySpark technology will be integrated into the Opaq cloud platform, and will allow MSPs and MSSPs to automate the assessment of midsize customers’ security architecture and regulatory compliance maturity. It offers Opaq partners “compelling new value propositions," the company said.
AireSpring's Daniel Lonstein
AppRiver-Roaring Penguin

Cloud security and productivity software provider AppRiver said it would buy Roaring Penguin Software (one of our favorite company names), to establish a growing Office 365 business in Canada and further differentiate its product offering.

Roaring Pengiun sells anti-spam and antivirus email filtering software to MSPs, ISPs, universities, governments and commercial businesses.
Kenna Security's Rick Kramer

Ensono announced it would buy Wipro's hosted data-center services business for $400 million. Wipro is based in India. Wipro is making great strides in artificial intelligence for enterprises.

The acquisition nearly doubles Ensono’s revenue, increasing it to $550 million. It also enhances its data-center presence with expansion into Germany, provides coast-to-coast connectivity in the United States and expands its European hosting capabilities
Kenna Security's Rick Kramer

InterVision, a tech consulting company, just added disaster recovery as a service to its lineup via the acquisition of Bluelock. It's the third acquisition in a year for InterVision, which also acquired Netelligent, an MSP and hosting provider, and ITG, which offered networking, storage and security services.

Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, Bluelock helps organizations mitigate IT risk by providing DRaaS for complex environments and sensitive data.
Avaya's Tara Dunning
AMP Capital-Everstream

AMP Capital, the Australia-based global investment firm, announced the purchase of Everstream Solutions. Everstream is a network service provider that services Midwestern businesses with fiber-based Ethernet, internet and data-center services.

Brett Lindsey, Everstream’s president and CEO, told us his company will continue on its plan "to consolidate the Midwest, providing more opportunity for our partners to sell fiber-based services across an expanded footprint.”
TBI's Joe Dino

CallTower, the unified communications provider, said it would buy Appia Communications, which provides cloud-based apps and communications services.

The purchase price wasn't revealed, but CallTower says the acquisition will allow it to deliver a broader range of services to the companies' combined customer base. They'll also be able to better serve new customers of all sizes.

“With this acquisition, CallTower partners will have more options for cloud contact center, network solutions and another option for on-premises customers looking to move to the cloud for hosted PBX,” said Tom Sullivan, VP of sales for CallTower.
Windstream's Adena Handly
Critical Start-Advanced Threat Analytics

Critical Start, a managed security service provider (MSSP), said it would buy Advanced Threat Analytics, which, as its name would indicate, is a security analytics platform provider.

Critical Start is investing in developing its own channel in the hopes it will add an additional robust revenue stream to complement its thriving enterprise business.

The deal closed April 4.

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