First Read

A first take on enterprise IT technology news and events.

Polycom Shareholders OK Sale to Private Equity Firm

Siris Capital is buying the video conferencing vendor for $2 billion after outbidding UC company Mitel over the summer.

tech business

Polycom shareholders this month approved the sale of the company to private equity firm Siris Capital for about $2 billion, paving the way for the deal to be completed later this month or in October.

Officials for the video conferencing vendor didn't indicate how big the vote margin was, only that the vote passed Sept. 2.

The shareholder vote brought closer to an end an acquisition that took a circuitous route and is the latest move in a rapidly changing global collaboration market. Unified communications vendor Mitel was on the verge of buying Polycom after announcing a $1.96 billion bid in April. The announcement came months after private equity firm Elliott Management bought significant stakes in both companies in October 2015 and floated the idea of a merger as a way of creating a larger company to compete with the likes of Cisco Systems and Microsoft and of returning more value to the shareholders of both companies.

The Mitel and Polycom boards of directors both approved the deal, which seemed to be sailing along until reports of a competing offer began to surface. Eventually, Mitel pulled its bid in July after Siris offered $2 billion.

The enterprise communications space is undergoing significant changes as organizations, under pressure from increasingly mobile work forces that want to collaborate where and when they want and with whatever device they want, are pushing for more software- and cloud-based solutions. Vendors are rapidly building out their portfolios, and over the past couple of years, other vendors have made moves, including Atos buying Unify, Lifesize spunning out of Logitech after shifting its portfolio to the cloud, and Mitel itself buying a couple of companies. In addition, ShoreTel and Avaya both have taken on advisers to review their options, which could include selling some or all of the companies.

Most recently, contact center specialist Genesys announced last week it is buying rival Interactive Intelligence for about $1.4 billion.