Blockbuster M&A Update: Verizon, Rackspace, VMware

Mergers and Acquisitions

While some big names doing business in the channel (Windstream, Star2Star) waited until the new year to unveil new M&A activity, some companies announced acquisitions and closed others in the last two months of 2017.

We once again compiled a list of those likely to have the biggest impact on the indirect telecom and IT sales channels.

Among them: Verizon closed an acquisition in Chicago that could pave the way for 5G networks in America’s third-largest city; VMware took software-defined networks to a new level buy buying VeloCloud; and Rackspace offered its partners more cloud and colocation opportunities by purchasing Datapipe.

Scroll through our gallery below for new M&A from November and December and update on those deals first announced earlier in the year.

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

Datapipe's Robb Allen

VMware took a big step in its venture into SD-WAN by completing its purchase of VeloCloud Networks.

“The acquisition of VeloCloud significantly advances our strategy of enabling customers to run, manage, connect and secure any application on any cloud to any device,” said Jeff Jennings, VMware’s senior vice president and general manager of its networking and security business unit.

VMware first announced plans to acquire VeloCloud Nov. 2. The integration strategy is to weave VeloCloud’s SD-WAN offering into VMware’s NSX network virtualization and security platform.

Rackspace completed its acquisition of Datapipe, the largest in its history. Datapipe, the company declared, is "a managed services leader across public and private clouds, managed hosting and colocation."

Rackspace said it would begin the Datapipe integration process immediately upon closing "in a planned way that maintains and enhances support levels for customers." It also gives partners more to sell, as channel chief Lisa McLin told us at Channel Partners Evolution.
Verizon's Nicola Palmer

Verizon closed its purchase of Wide Open West (WOW!) network assets in the Chicago area. It's a $225 million deal that gives the carrier fiber to more than 1,000 macro and small-cell wireless sites in the Windy City and helps "scale and accelerate deployment of next-generation broadband services."

Verizon says the deal will help lay the groundwork for 5G networks. The company plans to invest an additional $50 million to finish building the Chicago network this year.
Poker chips
Sprint-T-Mobile a No-Go

In the biggest merger that wasn't, Sprint and T-Mobile finally said no to creating a wireless company that rivals AT&T and Verizon in terms of size.

Speculation had run rampant for years, but after acknowledging merger talks earlier in the year, the two companies said in November that they are no longer interested in joining forces.

“All of those moving parts (and conflicting interests) seem to have made it difficult to get all parties to an agreement,” 451 Research's Rich Karpinski told Channel Partners. “It’s hard to find any winners. Sprint needs a boost in the U.S. market, which it won’t be getting. T-Mobile can keep humming along, but it, too, could have used the boost that Sprint offered, both in terms of added subscribers and spectrum."
Ingram Micro-Phoenix Group-Cloud Harmonics

In a move that trods on rival ScanSource's territory, distribution giant Ingram Micro announced the purchase of The Phoenix Group, the St. Louis-based distributor of countertop and mobile point-of-sale products and services. Curiously enough, Ingram's Jeff Yelton, who used to lead the ScanSource POS and barcoding unit, was a key player in the deal.

“The Phoenix Group’s capabilities provide our partners with immediate access to the payment processing keys necessary for electronic payments … ; the ability to maintain and upgrade those devices; and access to next-level POS technology," said Yelton.

Ingram Micro also announced plans to buy Cloud Harmonics, a fellow distributor that provides education, engagement and enablement capabilities to increase the adoption of next-gen cybersecurity, software-defined data center and cloud technologies.
Green House Data-Ajubeo-Assuritive

It was a busy couple of months for Wyoming-based Green House Data, which took upon itself some major wheeling and dealing.

First, the cloud hosting and colocation provider announced it would buy Ajubeo, a Denver-based company focused on infrastructure as a service. The company said the Ajubeo buy allows it to focus on providing a private cloud experience in the Mile High City.

Just a month later, Green House touted its third acquisition of the year — Assuritive, the DRaaS provider that developed intellectual property around secure disaster recovery. The company's first purchase of 2017 was Cirracore, an infrastructure provider based in Atlanta.
Haves and Have-Nots

With this $5.9 billion acquisition by Broadcom complete, Brocade will operate as an indirect subsidiary of Broadcom, led by Jack Rondoni, perviously Brocade's senior VP of storage networking. 

Broadcom is a semiconductor device supplier to the wired, wireless, enterprise storage and industrial end markets.

This deal closing opened the door for ...
Teeth Brushing

... Arris to close its $800 million purchase of the Ruckus Wireless and ICX Switch business, which was contingent on the Broadcom-Brocade deal being finalized. Ruckus previously was owned by Brocade.

The newly dubbed Ruckus Networks will operate as a business unit of Arris. The two are long-standing partners, but there isn't a lot of overlap in terms of partner profile, Ruckus' president told Channel Partners, so "clearly there will be opportunities for channel partners on both sides."
Teeth Brushing
Thoma Bravo-Barracuda Networks

Private-equity firm Thoma Bravo made another big dive into technology with the acquisition of Barracuda Networks. It was an all-cash transaction valued at $1.6 billion.

Barracuda will be a privately held company with a continued focus on email security and management, network and application security, and data-protection services that can be deployed in cloud and hybrid environments.

Look for the deal to close by the end of February.
Cyber Warfare

Cloud Computing Concepts (C3) announced its acquisition of the service-provider division of the South Florida Digital Alliance — a nonprofit association of local anchor institutions representing government, health care, education, nonprofits and the private sector. Its client list includes several cities, universities, schools, nonprofits and large commercial accounts.

C3 was to assume management of the SFDA service provider division effective Jan. 1 pending FCC approval. The deal is expected to close in March.

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