In 2017 Mitel purchased ShoreTel in an all-cash deal worth $430 Million. Nearly 9 months later and seemingly just as the dust has settled from the ShoreTel acquisition, Mitel enters into a definitive arrangement to be acquired by affiliates of Searchlight Capital Partners for $2.0 Billion! What does this mean for Mitel customers? What does this mean for ShoreTel customers and the Partner Community as a whole? This article explains.
What is Mitel’s Position?
Business as usual. This strategic transition to be a privately held company will give Mitel the flexibility they need to focus on delivering the world’s most robust and reliable cloud communication solution. Without shareholders to answer to, Mitel will be able to invest more resources into R&D, infrastructure, people, marketing.... whatever is needed to get them to the top of the pyramid.
“This transaction is an exciting next step in our multi-year transformation that has enabled Mitel to emerge as an industry leader in the largest markets in the world. As a private company, and with the strategic and capital support of the Searchlight funds, we will have greater flexibility to manage the transition in our market, accelerate our strategy, and drive the next phase of success for our customers, partners, and employees,” said Mitel CEO, Rich McBee.
Who Bought Mitel?
SearchLight is an investment firm with locations in London, New York, and Toronto. They specialize in leveraged buyouts, growth equity, recapitalization, and investments in capital structure. Their portfolio includes notable brands such as Rackspace and Gymboree. Also included in the mix of “Realized Investments” is a little company named Electric Lightwave. For IT professionals, especially in the Pacific Northwest, Electric Lightwave is a familiar telecom service provider that acquired formidable foe Integra in 2016. Then seemingly overnight, became Zayo (a much larger telecom and data provider). This is a familiar transition in technology as one small tech fish gets swallowed another only to get gobbled up by a much larger fish. Is it reasonable to presume that SearchLight was the puppet master in this series of events? We can’t be certain, but it is intriguing to think about what this could mean for Mitel’s future.
What about Mitel Customers? Partners?
The agreement between Mitel and Searchlight includes a 45-day “go-shop” period, which permits Mitel’s Board of Directors and advisors to actively solicit, evaluate, and potentially enter into negotiations with parties who make alternative acquisition proposals through June 7, 2018. So the deal is not done yet, however, all signs point to the acquisition moving forward. What does this mean for the customers of Mitel and the partner community at large?
Two scenarios are likely:
- Mitel will stand by their initial statement and prove this is a move that allows them to double down in cloud technology and better serve the customers and partner community. The need is certainly there... While the acquisition of ShoreTel made them the number one provider of UCaaS in the world, it did so in numbers alone. Many of Mitel’s competitors in the UCaaS space have invested heavily in infrastructure and R&D with a “Cloud-First” mentality, setting themselves up for success. Mitel has a long ways to go before they will meet the bar their peers have set and being privately held will allow them the flexibility to do so – in theory.
- Like the way of Lightwave, SearchLight’s injection into the equation might suggest that Mitel is being positioned to be swallowed by yet a bigger fish. The good news is that not many fish are bigger… But hypothetically, if there is a monster in the deep that is poised to absorb Mitel, the outcome would not be good for customers and partners who have already faced unique challenges associated with the acquisition of ShoreTel.
As a company that has gone through the transition from traditional telephony to a cloud-based business model, Matrix Networks understands that the road is long, and there can be pain along the way. Flexibility is the key word – any business making that transition needs a good runway in order to fly. This acquisition builds that runway. By removing the handcuffs of shareholders, Mitel will have the freedom to invest what is needed to build a robust, reliable solution that clearly separates them from the competition. This is great news for customers and partners who have invested heavily in Mitel/ShoreTel, not in stocks, but in partnerships surrounding our core communication systems. So for now the outlook is bright. Fingers crossed there are no monsters in the dark…
For additional assistance related to ShoreTel Support, Mitel Support, or any questions about your current phone system – please email us at email@example.com
Author: Ryan Graven