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Leading Lights 2019 Finalists: Best Deal Maker

Phil Harvey

Being the best deal maker isn't about dollars spent or number of acquisitions made. It's about everything a company can do from the boardroom to transform and give itself a competitive edge.

We will award this Leading Light trophy to "the company that has consistently demonstrated good timing, judgment and execution in high-profile acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures and other multi-company financial arrangements."

In other words, it's a broad category and a combination of objective and subjective factors. But the timing, execution and the company's potential after a deal are all critical pieces to the puzzle.

The winner of this and the other Leading Lights categories, as well as the identities of this year's Light Reading Hall of Fame inductees, will be announced at the Leading Lights Awards dinner, which will be held at the Pinnacle Club in Denver, on Monday, May 6, on the eve of the Big 5G Event. Find out about how to book a table and attend the awards dinner by clicking on this link.

Here are some details about the shortlisted entries in the category of Best Deal Maker:

Oracle agreed to buy SD-WAN provider Talari Networks in November 2018 and added Talari's more than 500 customers to its fold. Oracle had been in a bit of a drought regarding telecom acquisitions -- it bought Tekelec and Acme Packet back in 2013, but its additions since have focused on database-related products and enterprise networking. By adding Talari, Oracle is now able to partner with service providers  to provide enterprises with managed connectivity, along with cloud application access across any IP network with the reliability and predictability of private networks.That fits into the company's broader push to use its cloud and connectivity assets to support its database and business applications -- especially Oracle Fusion and Oracle NetSuite. That focus -- and pivot away from being a general-purpose cloud platform, essentially an enterprise version of Amazon -- were reportedly why the company made such a deep round of staff cuts recently, with most of those heads rolling away from Oracle's cloud infrastructure group.

Momentum Telecom
Momentum is a private label provider of cloud-based residential and business UCaaS and networking solutions to enterprises and other network operators. The company completed its acquisition of the CloudNet Group, an SD-WAN and UCaaS provider, in November and its acquisition of Metro Optical, a provider of managed network solutions to carriers and enterprises, in April. It just announced a deal to buy Cleveland-based DCT Telecom Group, a deal that appears to be mostly about acquiring customers instead of adding new technologies. The acquisitions, in addition to its many partnerships over the past 12 months, show that Momentum is eager to grow -- its business gets better with scale. The company's white label approach, and its growing channel program, suggest that it will be back on this list for more well-timed deals in the years to come.

Lumentum seems to know exactly when to buy and get rid of stuff. It said it is divesting its datacom transceiver business to Cambridge Industries Group (CIG) earlier this year. And late last year, it closed a big deal -- its acquisition of Oclaro, where it really accelerated the consolidation of the optical components market. Lumentum explained in its award entry that it now has "market and technology leadership positions across the full range of telecom components -- telecom transport (optical amplification and switching components and modules) and telecom transmission (photonic integrated circuit based components and modules for high-speed data transmission in data center interconnect, metro and long-haul applications)." The timing of the merger -- and the integration -- is remarkable. Just when the US government was making it impossible for US-based companies to sell components to ZTE and Huawei, Lumentum (a Huawei supplier) and Oclaro (a ZTE supplier) got together and are endeavoring to prove that they have enough customer reach and industry momentum to sustain the setbacks and grow in the long run.

Related posts:

Phil Harvey, US Bureau Chief, Light Reading

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