Test & Measurement

Tektronix Buys VOIP Test Firm

Test vendor Tektronix Inc. has opened its purse again to snap up VOIP service monitoring specialist Minacom for $27 million in cash. (See Tektronix to Buy Minacom.)

Montreal-based Minacom, which has about 35 on staff, 60 customers, and revenues of $5 million a year, is 100 percent owned by its founder and CEO Michel Nadeau, who is now good for a drink or three at the bar.

Tektronix says the acquisition, its fourth in just over two years, is due to close in the next 30 days and will "be immaterial" to its current fiscal year, which ends May 2007. The news sent Tektronix's stock up by $0.58, nearly 2 percent, to $30.11.

The deal gives Tektronix two things it wanted. First, a position in the cable operator VOIP test market, which is where Minacom has had the majority of its success with MSOs such as Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY), and a host of Tier 2 and 3 players in North America and Europe.

Minacom's customer list doesn't end there, though, as it also counts AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS), BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Cable and Wireless plc (NYSE: CWP), Orange (NYSE: FTE), Global Crossing (Nasdaq: GLBC), KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN), and Neuf Cegetel Group (Euronext: NEUF), and VOIP equipment vendors such as Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Cedar Point Communications Inc. , and Siemens Communications Group as customers. (See Minacom, Cedar Point Interop.)

Secondly, Minacom fills a specific technology hole in Tektronix's VOIP monitoring arsenal that sits neatly alongside its own VOIP test product, GeoProbe, which the company has had since its 2004 acquisition of Inet Technologies. That $325 million purchase gave Tektronix a foothold in the fixed-line carrier test systems market. (See Tektronix Acquires Inet for $325M.)

GeoProbe is a passive VOIP tool, which means it sits in various places in the market and monitors live IP telephony traffic. Minacom's PowerProbe product, though, is an active test tool, which means it generates test VOIP calls across a network that can be analyzed.

"We needed active VOIP test capabilities to go with our existing passive tools. We looked at a number of different players and found Minacom had the best active test portfolio and was a good cultural fit," says Tektronix senior VP Rich McBee.

"Customers are increasingly looking for a combination of passive and active testing. Many cable operators don't have large numbers of VOIP customers at present, and so using an active probe is enough, but as they grow they'll need passive test tools as well," adds McBee.

Minacom is just the latest Tektronix acquisition. Following the June 2004 move for Inet, the vendor bought interconnect analysis software tool firm TDA Systems in June 2005 for about $4.6 million in stock and cash, and then paid $7.4 million in November 2005 for Vqual Ltd., a vendor of software-based compressed video test tools. (See Tektronix Gets a Little TDA.)

Minacom has raised its profile significantly this year, making numerous announcements, particularly about new partnerships. (See Minacom Stress Tests VOIP, Test Firms Tackle IPTV, VOIP , Sunrise, Minacom Team on MSO Testing, Edgewater Supports Minacom, Minacom Unveils VOIP Test Service, and Tollgrade, Minacom Team Up.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

^Eagle^ 12/5/2012 | 3:35:39 AM
re: Tektronix Buys VOIP Test Firm Many people don't know this, but Minacom is named for the founder and principle owner: Michel Nadeau (spelling may be off). Hence: MiNacom.

My congratulations to Michel and his team. A hard working bunch who have worked for more than 10 years to build the company from scratch. Mostly self funded and built on sweat equity.

27M is a great deal for them and a nice exit / reward for all the hard work.

Key question will be how successful Tek is in keeping the Montreal staff on board. This company is all about the staff and the knowledge they have.

digits 12/5/2012 | 3:35:38 AM
re: Tektronix Buys VOIP Test Firm Sailboat
Great trivia!!

And you are right about the staff -- Tektronix will need to treat them well and make things even better for them to benefit from the acquisition.
That's a tough task, though.
Maybe some folk who joined Tektronix with Inet 2 years ago would have some thoughts to share on how good Tektronix is at integrating its acquisitions.

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