Well that went well: Polycom sold for the same figure it fetched two years ago

Plantronics is new owner after private equity outfit offloads

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Lawyers are expensive at the best of times. Perhaps that’s why two acquisitions have closed just before the Easter long weekend?

The bigger of the two transactions is Plantronics splashing US$2bn to acquire Polycom. The latter company was acquired by Siris Capital in September 2016 after a transaction the pair said reflected “an equity value of approximately $2.0 billion in cash.”

Fast-forward to Wednesday, March 28th, and Plantronics proudly proclaimed “a cash and stock transaction valued at $2.0 billion enterprise value” will create “the partner of choice for the communications and collaboration ecosystem.”

Plantronics’ main products are headsets for business and leisure, plus some conferencing phones. Polycom has plenty of the latter, plus videoconferencing and other unified comms products.

The combined companies will be able to send sound and video into just about any home or orifice office.

Both boards signed off on the deal and have talked up a brilliant future for the combined companies in the wonderful world of unified communications.

Despite the headline figures remaining the same, Siris has probably walked away with a profit. Polycom was cash-rich when first acquired and private equiteers are masters of financial gymnastics.

The day’s other transaction was VMware acquiring a security outfit named E8 Security that does “user and entity behavior analytics” to “accelerate detection of advanced threats based on anomalies.”

We think that means the company can figure out when users are endangering themselves and others, then either flash red lights at sysadmins’ or initiate automated responses to stop bad things happening to good companies. E8 was a small outfit, so nobody’s been crass enough to discuss money. VMware has said that E8’s wares will be baked into its Workspace ONE digital workspace platform. ®


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