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AlcaLu Buys Gateway Vendor

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is to buy multiservice enterprise gateway vendor NetDevices Inc. for an undisclosed sum to help speed up its product delivery and development capabilities. (See Alcatel-Lucent Buys NetDevices.)

NetDevices has developed a range of enterprise gateways that can sit either at the enterprise office location or in a remote data center. The products, which can be remotely managed, include firewall protection, inbuilt packet inspection, Ethernet ports up to 1 Gbit/s, VOIP support, and dynamic and static routing.

The giant vendor says the acquisition of NetDevices, a member of AlcaLu's Partner Program, will give it a faster time to market, and enable the company "to integrate their products in a way that would not have been possible through an OEM or partner relationship," says a spokesman.

NetDevices has been targeting the carrier community, which could resell the vendor's devices or deploy them for managed service delivery, but it's not known whether it has signed up any operator customers. Alcatel-Lucent did confirm, though, that BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has tested and approved NetDevices gear as suitable for service provider deployment.

AlcaLu won't say how much it is paying for the gateway firm, or comment on NetDevices' revenues or customer base.

It did say, though, that NetDevices currently has 45 staff based in Sunnyvale, Calif., and Bangalore, India. That means the company has shrunk somewhat during the past two years. In August 2005, when NetDevices received its most recent cash injection -- a $25 million round that took the company's total funding to $40 million -- it had 135 staff and was planning to grow even bigger. (See NetDevices Nets $25M.)

Three of the remaining staff are NetDevices cofounders, all former Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) executives: CEO Seenu Banda and engineering vice presidents Rob Haragan and Jeff Kidd.

NetDevices couldn't be reached as this article was published. Alcatel-Lucent expects to close the acquisition during the current quarter.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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