Prime Carrier has acquired Galway-based revenue settlement player for the retail telecoms market Am-Beo for an undisclosed sum. A spokesman for the newly combined company has not ruled out the possibility of a future listing on the Alternative Investments Market in London.
It is understood the combined entity will aim to become a billing powerhouse in the converged markets of internet protocol, 3G and triple play telecoms services.
Under the acquisition agreement, all Am Beo technology, intellectual property rights and customer contracts will transfer with immediate effect. On completion of the acquisition, the integrated company will trade as Prime Carrier. with the Am-Beo brand retained under the company’s brand portfolio.
In addition, Am-Beo staff will transfer to Prime Carrier, to further sell, market, develop, test, support and maintain the product range and its customer base. All Am-Beo staff will be integrated into Prime Carrier’s software development, product management, professional services and sales operations. The Am-Beo product development and support functions will continue to operate from its Galway offices.
Both companies already boast an impressive blue-chip client listing in the telecoms world. While Am-Beo boasts players such as Sonera Zed, Western Wireless, XTS and Xtempus, Prime Carrier’s customers include KPN, Colt, Energis, France Telecom Equant, Tele2, BellSouth and MCI.
In an interview with siliconrepublic.com, PrimeCarrier’s director of product marketing Simon Pepper said the aim of the merger is to give the combined companies the scale necessary to compete in the rapidly evolving, converged fixed and mobile communications industry.
Acknowledging the need to merge and achieve scale advocated in the recent Irish Software Association blueprint for the industry, Pepper said: “The scale of Irish companies to date has been a problem, particulary in terms of barriers to growing sales staff. The merger is a means of creating scale, by combining the assets and resources of both companies.
It is understood the acquisition is supported by the combined entity’s principal shareholders, ACT Venture Capital and Advent Venture Partners, as well as Enterprise Ireland and Hot Origin.
Asked whether the combined Prime Carrier will consider a flotation on the London-based AIM market, Pepper said AIM is an option. “There are many forms of exit available to companies of the type and size that the combined entity represents and that is one possible exit. We haven’t discounted that as a possible exit.”
In terms of the technology path being pursued by the combined entity, straddling both the retail and wholesale communications markets, Pepper said the industry is being made all the more compelling by the onset of IP communications, 3G mobile and future triple-play telephony, broadband and television services about to sweep Europe and the US.
“Am-Beo’s technology gives Prime Carrier the chance to move from the voice world to the IP world. With wideband internet routing and voice over IP becoming important to carriers, it is not just about voice anymore. We aim to maximise on the opportunities and craft out the product strategies for both lines and there’s a lot of work to be done.”
By John Kennedy