BSS (inc. billing, revenue assurance)

Comverse Goes It Alone

Any chance of a near-term takeover deal for Israeli Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) specialist Comverse Inc. (Nasdaq: CNSI) now seems very slim following its parent company's latest decision on its shareholding structure.

That leaves the completion of Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s US$1.15 billion acquisition of Telcordia Technologies Inc. as the major, early-year M&A news from the telecom software sector. (See Ericsson Closes Telcordia Acquisition.)

There's plenty of other SPIT action to highlight, though. (See The SPIT Manifesto.)

  • Following a lengthy review of its options for its BSS, VAS (value-added services) and service delivery platform (SDP) subsidiary, holding company Comverse Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: CMVT) (CMVT) has decided to distribute Comverse's shares as a form of dividend to CMVT's stakeholders. The stock distribution is set to happen at some point in the second half of CMVT's 2012 fiscal year, which ends in January 2013.

    The move is effectively an admission by CMVT that it couldn't find a buyer willing to pay the asking price for Comverse, which continues to show some healthy signs despite the recent uncertainty about its parent company and its potential ownership. (See Comverse in Play and Comverse Reports Q3 Profit of $35.7M.)

    CMVT was believed to be looking for bids of up to $1 billion for Comverse, which generated revenues of nearly $244 million, and an operating profit of $29.5 million, in the three months to the end of October 2011.

    If the company keeps producing healthier financials quarter-on-quarter during calendar 2012, maybe it can continue as a standalone operation, a status few people anticipated during CMVT's years in the financial wilderness following the scandal involving former chairman and CEO Jacob 'Kobi' Alexander. (See Comverse Kobi Coughs Up $54M.)

    Other developments of note from the SPIT sector include:

    — Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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