Mitel Still on Acquisition Trail Despite Failed Polycom Bid
CEO Rich McBee says since pulling out of the deal last month, the company has seen a strong uptick in other companies looking for a possible buyer.Mitel's failed bid to buy video conferencing vendor Polycom isn't slowing down the company's ambitions to use acquisitions to help it grow its place in the highly competitive business communications marketplace. In a conference call to review the company's latest financial quarter, Mitel CEO Rich McBee said that the Polycom situation helped the company hone its mergers-and-acquisitions policies, gave it a $60 termination fee from Polycom and "significantly raised Mitel's profile as a market consolidator." "Immediately following the termination of the deal, we experienced a notable increase in the number of expressions around interest in other companies seeking a strong … partner such as Mitel," McBee said, adding that every opportunity will be reviewed and judged on its merits and that the company will be disciplined in its evaluations. Since joining Mitel in 2011, McBee has looked at acquisitions as a key driver in the company's push into the mobile and cloud communications space. He has viewed the unified communications (UC) space as ripe for consolidation, and has determined that Mitel will be a buyer and not a seller.
The results for the company have been somewhat mixed. The company has bought Aastra Technologies and Mavenir Systems, moves that fed directly into the cloud and mobile pushes. However, Mitel in 2014 failed in an effort to buy rival ShoreTel when that company's board of directors rejected the $574 million offer as being too low. Earlier this year, the company—urged on by activist investor Elliott Management, which had taken significant stakes in both Mitel and Polycom in late 2015—made a $1.96 billion bid for Polycom.