Extreme to Buy Zebra's WLAN Unit for $55 Million

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2016-09-14 Print this article Print
Extreme CEO

Extreme Networks is growing its wireless LAN capabilities through its plan to acquire Zebra Technologies' WLAN business, a move officials said not only will help fill out the vendor's product portfolio but also its efforts to grow its presence in such markets as retail, transportation and hospitality.

Extreme, which already has a wealth of wired and wireless networking products, will buy the Zebra business for $55 million. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Zebra originally picked up the WLAN business as well as an array of other products and technologies two years ago when it bought Motorola Solutions for $3.45 billion.

The Zebra business will be folded into Extreme's ExtremeWireless product line. Through the deal, Extreme will acquire such products as Zebra's WiNG wireless operating system, NSight for advanced network troubleshooting, new wireless access points, and AirDefense intrusion and detection technologies. In addition, Extreme will add in-house managed services as well as workers and customers.

"Adding new wireless LAN solutions to our existing wireless LAN technology enables us to provide [customers] with a full portfolio of end-to-end, wired and wireless software-driven networking solutions," Extreme President and CEO Ed Meyercord wrote in a post on the company blog.

Meyercord (pictured) took over the top spot at Extreme last year, and during that time has instigated changes designed to improve the company's focus. Extreme shifted from selling point products to selling solutions, to selling its wireless capabilities as well as it does its wired expertise, on key verticals such as health care, education and manufacturing, and on the midmarket and campus networking spaces.

"I'm not sure Extreme knew where it fit" in the market a year ago, Meyercord said in an interview earlier this year with eWEEK. "Today, we know exactly where we fit."

The deal for Zebra's technologies comes three years after Extreme made a significant push into the wireless networking space with its $180 million acquisition of Enterasys Networks, a move designed to give the company a foothold in both the wired and wireless spaces and the ability to offer a more complete networking portfolio. Similar ideas have fueled more recent acquisitions, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise's in 2015 of Aruba Networks and Brocade's of Ruckus Wireless this year.

Extreme in its fiscal year 2016 saw revenue hit $529.9 million, a drop from $556 million the previous year.

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