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Two 'fer Tuesday.  Mitel / Polycom Not Happening, Slack Gets Verbal

Posted by Kevin Gulley

Jul 12, 2016

One of the Biggest Deals in the UC & C Space in Years is...well...it’s Not Happening.

Last week Polycom backed out of their agreed to acquisition by Mitel, which definitely turned some heads amongst industry watchers, participants and investors.  According to the New York Times DealBook there was plenty of upside to the merger:

The cash-and-stock deal offered a 22 percent premium to Polycom shareholders, who also would have owned three-fifths of the enlarged entity. An anticipated $160 million of annual synergies, worth some $1.3 billion once taxed and capitalized, should have foretold plenty of upside.

However, the deal announced in April started to look less attractive to Polycom’s board as time went on, and as the NYTimes explained:

With the deal worth 20 percent less than when it was struck, Polycom last week decided to abandon it in favor of an all-cash offer from the private equity firm Siris Capital. The price is 9 percent lower per share than the original Mitel bid, and Siris will keep all the benefits of any savings. Yet shares of both public companies rose on the news. Though part of that was because of investors who bet on the deal’s prospects unwinding their positions, the episode exemplifies the strange prism through which investors see tech opportunities.

From Polycom’s perspective, backing out of the acquisition is a done deal and they have already paid the termination penalty to Mitel. From the Polycom press release:

Polycom, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM), a global leader in helping organizations achieve new levels of teamwork, efficiency and productivity by unleashing the power of human collaboration, today announced that its board of directors has approved the termination of the company’s previously announced merger agreement with Mitel Networks Corporation. Upon Mitel’s receipt of the requisite termination fee payable under the company’s merger agreement with Mitel, which the company intends to deliver today, the company will enter into a new merger agreement with Triangle Private Holdings I, LLC and Triangle Private Merger Sub, Inc., entities affiliated with Siris Capital Group, LLC

Well, at least a bunch of lawyers made some serious cash (as usual) and for those Polycom fans out there, the brand is not going away anytime soon.

Slack Voice Calls Take Messaging App to the Next Level,  Furthering Guerilla Takeover of Businesses


Over 3 million monthly users are already using Slack, the popular messaging and collaboration application.  And chances are, if your business has Millennials working for it, there are probably teams in your company already using it.

Now, Slack is taking its capabilities up a notch by offering voice calls to paying teams using the messaging service to collaborate.  Initially the service will be available to team members using the iOS, Mac and Chrome apps.  According to Cult of Mac:

To create a one-on-one call with a fellow employee, open a private chat and simply tap/click on the phone icon next to the person you want to ring. You can also create group calls and use emoji in the chat to show your reaction when speaking just won’t cut it.

If you’re not a paid user you can still make one-on-one calls, just not group calls. The free feature update should rollout to all users later today.

With solutions like Slack, WhatsApp and others (not to mention WebRTC solutions) offering in app voice communications, the very nature of voice communications is evolving at breakneck speed.  Add to that the announcement that iOS 10 will offer a VoIP API so that calls coming into apps like these will look just like any other call coming into your iPhone and the lines are not just blurring, it won’t be long until they are no longer visible.

Topics: Voice, collaboration, UC Industry, Industry News