Blockbuster Channel M&A Update: CenturyLink, Birch, Cisco, More


The frenzy of mergers and acquisitions stayed hot during the dog days of summer. Plenty of channel-facing IT and telecommunications firms decided to join forces in August.

Several security vendors consolidated, Birch Communications sold its cloud and business services unit to a suitor, and rumors swirled around a major cable company — per usual. And CenturyLink’s purchase of Level 3 continues to demand the attention of the channel.

In the gallery below, you’ll find the newly announced acquisitions and the updates on those you’re likely following closely.

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

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Peak 10-ViaWest

Peak 10 finalized its $1.7 billion purchase of ViaWest. The companies announced that they have officially combined into an entity known as Peak 10 + ViaWest. The new company calls itself a leading hybrid IT provider that reaches more than 4,200 business customers. Peak 10 first announced the acquisition in June.

Read what partners of the companies had to say about the acquisition.

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Charter Rumors

New M&A rumors surround Charter Communications. According to a CNBC report, Altice and its U.S. cable subsidiary, Altice USA, are planning a bid to buy America’s second-largest cableco in what could be a $200 billion deal. Altice and its founder, Patrick Drahi, have been interested in expanding in the United States, it said. Neither Altice nor Charter would comment.

Get more background on the two companies.

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Cisco is acquiring Springpath, which has developed a distributed file system purpose-built for hyperconvergence that allows server-based storage systems. The purchase price is $320 million. Cisco said the acquisition will allow it to continue to deliver next-generation data center innovation to its customers. The deal is expected to close in Cisco’s first quarter of fiscal year 2018, following customary closing conditions and regulatory review.

Learn why Cisco wanted to buy Springpath.

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CenturyLink-Level 3

CenturyLink received approval from another state regarding its acquisition of Level 3 Communications. New Jersey joined 23 other U.S. states and territories in approving the purchase. CenturyLink and Level 3 both reported profit losses in their second quarter reports.

Read about the latest approval and the declining profits.

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Channel data management company Zyme closed its acquisition of San Francisco-based CCI, a channel management firm founded in 1983. The addition will expand the vendor’s smart application portfolio. CCI focuses its solutions – MDF, joint marketing planning, incentive, and OEM funds – in the telecom, software and hardware industries.

Get details on the acquisition.

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Symantec is selling its SSL issuance certificate business to rival DigiCert for $950 million in cash and a 30 percent stake in DigiCert stock. Symantec CEO Greg Clark said selling the assets will allow his company to sharpen its enterprise focus on “delivering unparalleled protection for the cloud generation through Symantec’s Integrated Cyber Defense Platform.” The acquisition is expected to be completed later this year.

Read more about why Symantec is selling the unit.

BMC's Kevin Orr
Evolve IP-Mtel

Cloud services provider Evolve IP acquired Mtel, a cloud communications firm based in the Netherlands, as part of its ongoing growth strategy and to increase its presence in Europe. Evolve IP says Mtel provides an immediate physical presence and additional data centers in Europe, complementing its current capabilities in the United Kingdom, Israel and Australia. Established in 1999, Mtel provides contact center, IP phone systems and business collaboration tools.

Learn about Evolve IP's plans for the purchase.

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WatchGuard Technologies is buying Datablink, a provider of advanced authentication services, to extend its security portfolio beyond network and wireless security, and to deliver advanced authentication to SMBs and distributed enterprises. WatchGuard’s plan is to offer Datablink advanced authentication as a fully cloud-based service.

Read about WatchGuard and Datablink.

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eFolder and Axcient‘s merger, announced in July, has already created new value and opportunities for partners, the companies said. The combination of the two companies supports close to 4,000 channel partners globally. Near-term points of emphasis will include accelerating the development of Axcient’s Business Recovery Cloud (BRC) product, along with a strengthened account management team focusing on the base of MSPs.

eFolder's CEO spoke to Channel Partners about the benefits of the deal.

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Cloud services provider Fusion is acquiring Birch Communications' cloud and business-services business, including its customers, operations and infrastructure, in an all-stock transaction valued at about $280 million. The combination is expected to create one of the largest cloud services providers in North America, with more than 150,000 business customers and a 100-percent IP-based network, including 30 data centers, 31,000 fiber route-miles of network, and metro fiber assets in 11 major markets.

Get details on the deal.

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Cybersecurity company Forcepoint finalized its acquisition of RedOwl, a security analytics company focused on helping customers understand and manage human risk. Since 2011, RedOwl has focused specifically on delivering capabilities that provide visibility into the holistic activities of people, including cyber, physical and financial. Customers deploy these capabilities to analyze large amounts of complex data, assess high-risk events and behaviors, and put in place centralized, people-led oversight to satisfy both security and regulatory requirements.

Read more from Forcepoint and RedOwl about why they think the other company is a good fit.

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SolarWinds MSP is expanding its portfolio with the purchase of a security vendor. SpamExperts, a Netherlands-based company, is joining SolarWinds. SpamExperts provides email security solutions, including email archiving and filtering. SolarWinds’ Greg Lissy The acquisition became final on Aug. 25, and SpamExperts’ technology will fully integrate into SolarWinds’ portfolio by the end of September.

Learn more about the acquisition.

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