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Mergers & acquisitions

Leading Lights Finalists 2014: Best Deal Maker

Spirent Communications plc -- for the acquisition of DAX Technologies Corp.
Customer Experience Management is a top priority of communication service providers, and also a big challenge. That's why Spirent Communications plc made the shortlist this year for its $37 million purchase of DAX Technologies Corp., which makes CEM software for mobile and wireline operators to understand and quantify how services are used by their customers.

Only about 10% -- around $30 to $40 million a year -- of Spirent's revenues were generated from its OSS/BSS unit pre-DAX acquisition, small in comparison to its test and measurement business. Spirent expects acquiring the CEM specialist to enhance its earnings and be cash generative in the first full year with an ROI that's in excess of the cost of capital.

DAX also gives Spirent a more robust CEM story for operators, as it allows them to combine the feedback from its InTouch analytics platform with its own data from the lab and live networks to get the full picture on service quality for important applications like VoLTE.

Sprint Corp. -- for its deal with the CCA and NetAmericas to bring LTE to rural America
Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) may be gunning to acquire T-Mobile US Inc. , but it's taking steps to help expand its LTE footprint on its own as well. In March, the carrier announced a partnership with the NetAmerica Alliance LLC and Competitive Carriers Association to accelerate LTE buildouts in rural communities, reduce roaming costs, and expand their handset selection.

It's a great way for small operators with little access to the spectrum, cash, and handsets needed to deploy LTE to get up and running on Sprint's spectrum. And the program, Small Market Alliance for Rural Transformation (SMART), appears to be a mutually beneficial for Sprint, which will in turn gets to roam on their networks, plugging the coverage gaps of its current LTE network.

The group hopes it will also have the effect of providing rural America more choices for mobile coverage, or at least a choice in some areas that are currently underserved. SoftBank Corp. Chairman and CEO of Sprint Masayoshi Son has even gone as far as to say he'd help fund rural America's LTE deployments to get the partnership up and running.

Sonus Networks Inc. -- for partnering with Juniper Networks and acquiring Performance Technologies
Sometimes partnerships can be just as savvy as acquisitions, and Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS) makes the list for both a smart partnership and an acquisition in two separate fields. In May of last year, it teamed up with Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) on SDN, and in December, it spent $34 million on Performance Technologies Inc. for Diameter signaling, a deal which it closed in February.

With Juniper, the companies are combining the Sonus 5000 Session Border Controller (SBC) with Juniper's MX routers to build an SDN-enabled SBC capable of on-demand bandwidth allocation, a key application of SDN. Its acquisition of Performance Technologies, on the other hand, was all about its Diameter signaling platform, giving Sonus a way to compete in a market it says will be worth $3 billion by 2017. Taken together, Sonus says the deals position it well to capitalize on the move to virtualization and mobility and to compete against the big vendors.

In case you haven't heard, the Leading Lights winners and 2014 Hall of Fame inductees will be unveiled at the Leading Lights awards dinner, to be held the evening of Tuesday, June 17 at Chicago's Adler Planetarium. (For more details, see Bumper Year for the Leading Lights Awards.)

Stick around on Wednesday for the second day of Light Reading's Big Telecom Event, taking place at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers on June 17-18. (Details and the agenda are on our show site, Big Telecom Event.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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mendyk 6/2/2014 | 10:46:07 AM
Re: Anyone else? Yes, job requirements can be tedious. Free range is the better option, although we all know that no range is truly free.
futurephil 6/2/2014 | 10:41:33 AM
Re: Anyone else? Or, I'm finding it easier to concentrate without a message board quota to worry about. 
mendyk 6/2/2014 | 10:39:20 AM
Re: Anyone else? Looks like somebody misses being editor.
futurephil 6/1/2014 | 10:44:12 PM
Re: Anyone else? Was Liberty Global/Virgin Media deal too early in 2013 to be considered?

Also, Facebook/WhatsApp is much more of an influential deal than, say, Genband/fring.

Google/Stackdriver was very interesting, too. It was one of 14 companies purchased this year.

Don't sleep on Microsoft, either. They've bought seven companies in the last 12 months and spent more than $7B to get Nokia's mobile device business.  Other buys gave them assets in API management, mobile computing and cloud computing. 
sarahthomas1011 6/1/2014 | 11:39:48 AM
Re: Anyone else? Neither have gone through yet, so they'd be 2015 candidates but definitely worthwhile ones if they do close.
Joe Stanganelli 6/1/2014 | 4:56:36 AM
Re: Anyone else? No love for the DirecTV acquisition by AT&T, I see.

But then again, AT&T already has U-verse.

The more glaring omission, though, is the Comcast-Time Warner deal, if it goes through.
Joe Stanganelli 6/1/2014 | 4:53:04 AM
Juniper settlement? I don't know if this counts, but how about a nod toward Juniper for -- as part of its highly favorable settlement with Palo Alto Networks over their myriad patent litigation -- getting $100M in Palo Alto Networks stock (not to mention $75M cash)?
sarahthomas1011 5/30/2014 | 11:55:36 AM
Re: Anyone else? Yes, that's a huge one. Same with SnapChat for its acquisition of AddLive.
nasimson 5/30/2014 | 11:54:05 AM
Re: Anyone else? @Sarah: What about the deal between facebook & whats app? Its a major deal that will combine mobile peer to peer messaging with social networking like never before.
sarahthomas1011 5/30/2014 | 10:40:14 AM
Anyone else? What other big deal makers do you think should be on this list? Unfortunately, Softbank did not apply..
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