Avaya buys Irish tech firm for US$103m


3 Aug 2004

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US networking technology giant Avaya has acquired Dublin-based conferencing technology firm Spectel for a massive sum of US$103m in cash. The transaction is expected to close within 60 days and is subject to regulatory approval, Irish laws and customary closing conditions.

Spectel was once hotly tipped to float on the Nasdaq and Dublin stock exchanges but pulled its IPO at the last minute as the recent technology downturn started to bite. The acquisition is the second largest acquisition to take place in the Irish technology market this year, following the acquisition of Irish banking software player Eontec by global CRM giant Siebel in a similar all-cash deal for US$130m.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our customers and our employees,” said Gerard Moore, CEO of Spectel. “Avaya has a vision for the future of conferencing in a broader context of communications-enabled business processes, and they have the talent, strategy and commitment to help businesses realise the benefits of effective conferencing today while providing a path to valuable future capabilities.”

Spectel has approximately 210 employees and offices in Dublin, Ireland, Andover, Massachusetts and other strategic locations. The company currently serves more than 500 customers globally.

The acquisition will enable Avaya to expand its capabilities in conferencing, a core business communications technology. Building on a relationship of more than four years between the companies, Avaya will continue to serve the enterprise market with Spectel’s on-premise and service provider conferencing solutions.

Avaya also plans to integrate Spectel technology with its own Internet Protocol (IP) communications applications suite to provide businesses with expanded converged conferencing capabilities. Converged conferencing brings together web, video, audio and data conferencing on an IP network. Demand for converged applications is expected to rise with the adoption of IP telephony, which is predicted to be a US$9.4bn market in 2008, according to Synergy Research.

Spectel’s software-based solutions are designed using industry standards, which makes them well-suited to integrate with systems from a variety of vendors. This open, standards-based approach can ease development of converged conferencing solutions in cooperation with other industry leaders.

“We’ve worked with Spectel for years and we’ve implemented their solution in our own operations, so we know firsthand and through our customers that Spectel’s technology is first-rate,” said Don Peterson, chairman and CEO of Avaya.

“As businesses take advantage of the new types of applications that IP telephony can provide, such as converged conferencing, we believe the addition of the Spectel team and technology will help us accelerate the development of solutions that can transform work processes and deliver measurable competitive advantage,” Peterson said.

By John Kennedy