Mitel, Aastra merge to create billion dollar UC giant

Mitel and Aastra Technologies have announced plans to merge, creating a billion dollar enterprise communications company with massively increased channel scale

Unified communications software specialist Mitel and enterprise comms vendor Aastra have jumped into bed in a merger that is set to create a $1.1bn (£688m) revenue company.

The deal, announced Monday, will see Mitel acquire all outstanding Aastra common shares for $6.52 plus 3.6 Mitel shares each, for a total price of approximately $374m (£234m).

The move has been billed by both parties as a largely strategic play, designed to build scale in a consolidating market and, so the duo claim, will hand it the unified comms market-leadership position in Western Europe.

The enlarged company will boast 60 million end users in over 100 countries, served by a network of about 2,500 resellers.

It hopes to lever this reseller community, where it currently claims to see little overlap, to help it exploit near-term installed base upgrade opportunities in key markets, including the UK, as well as aggressively expanding into the enterprise cloud market Stateside.

It also pointed to an increased annual R&D budget, around $45m of run rate synergies over the next two years in areas such as supply chain optimisation and facilities consolidation.

The merger will also bring debt-laden Mitel a bit more leeway in terms of loan repayment and future liquidity.

The combined company, which will retain the Mitel brand, will be based in the firm’s home town of Ottawa and will be led by current Mitel CEO Richard McBee.

In a brief statement McBee said he saw the UC market as ripe for consolidation, and on the brink of a massive migration into the cloud, and hinted that he saw Mitel as potentially marginalised if it did not react to this.

“Aastra’s solid financial structure, complementary portfolios, geographic reach and large installed-base immediately augment and expand Mitel’s market footprint, enabling us to … leap-frog the competition,” he said.

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