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Extreme Networks could acquire again to strengthen portfolio

The firm made three big acquisitions over the course of the last 18 months and has indicated it could spend again to strengthen its portfolio

The last 18 months have seen Extreme Networks expand the business significantly with multiple acquisitions and the firm has indicated it is not pausing in its ambitions to grow the portfolio and take market share.

The firm made three asset purchases in a fairly short space of time, picking up the Zebra wireless business, Avaya’s networking operation to boost its campus core business and then Brocade’s datacentre operation.

Norman Rice, chief marketing, development and product operations officer at Extreme Networks, said that Extreme had identified the areas it wanted to work in but wanted to extend the scale and become a more major player in areas like wireless, campus and core switching, data centre and the provision of management software.

“We wanted to build on those building blocks and create an opportunity that was focused on the enterprise market,” he added “We saw that scale was going to matter but so was the breath of the portfolio both in terms of customers and partners.”

The three acquisitions boosted those areas and it was now identifying further technologies where it could invest organically or use acquisition as a means of gaining the skills and tech it wanted.

“We will always look at unique opportunities. We are actively looking at opportunities to shore up the business. Categorically we are looking at SD-WAN, application performance and management, monitoring optimisation and looking at continuing to expand the core technologies and look for additional scale. We believe that with switching and wireless there are still a lot of assets out there,” he said.

The firm is also looking to focus on the software as the mechanism to free up where the intelligence sits in the network, so it could be at the edge, in the data centre of at the core. Many of

Sean Collins, regional director for UKI and BeNeLux at Extreme Networks, said that not only had it been able to bolster its market position with the asset deals but it had also been able to integrate the channel programmes quickly so partners could sell across the entire platform.

“We win business through our partner base and as part of those acquisitions we have acquired a lot of partners, quite a significant amount. What you have got to do in trying to bring a cultural base of partners together is unify it under a programme and we have done that,” he said.

He said that partners were starting to buy into the portfolio and the idea of selling a wider number of Extreme technologies and it had made that easier with the partner programme.

“Partners can specialise in one area of the network, they can consume the whole solution play and they get rewarded for that in rebates and we educate them in the space they want to be,” he added “We do try to drive them into a skillset that they will be able to add value around and being them into an ecosystem of partners that can bring together a full solution.”

Rice said that in terms of the three asset deals it had made the Zebra wireless business had been fully integrated in two weeks and was already performing ahead of plan. “We see a lot of opportunity in that market to grow at the edge of the network.”

The Avaya business will be included in the fiscal year numbers when the firm’s year closes in July and it is on track and then the Brocade asset purchase revenues will trickle into the core business numbers  a bit later because the deal was only closed in October.

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