Extreme swallows Zebra’s WLAN biz for $55 million

ed meyercord

Ed Meyercord, CEO, Extreme Networks

Credit: Extreme Networks

Looking to fill in some gaps in its own wireless LAN portfolio – such as security and managed services -- and jump into some new vertical markets like retail and transportation, Extreme Networks said it would buy Zebra Technologies wireless business for $55 million in cash.

With the purchase, Extreme will get Zebra’s wireless LAN 802.11ac high-speed wireless access portfolio, which includes Zebra’s WiNG wireless operating system, NSight advanced network troubleshooting package as well as a managed service suite that Extreme does not currently offer, said Extreme President and CEO Ed Meyercord.

+More on network World: CEO Ed Meyercord talks about Enterasys merger and an expanding set of software capabilities undergirding Extreme’s wired-wireless switches+

Meyercord also said that the acquisition also expands Extreme’s wireless LAN security offering with the addition of Zebra’s AirDefense wireless intrusion prevention system which delivers 24×7 wireless monitoring tools to let IT identify network attacks and vulnerabilities and to terminate the connection to rogue devices.

Zebra’s wireless technology comes courtesy of Motorola’s Enterprise business which the company bought in 2014 for $3.45 billion in cash. Meyercord noted that Motorola in the past had been an Extreme OEM partner so Extreme was very familiar with the technology.

Gartner wrote of Zebra’s WLAN portfolio in a recent report: “Zebra should be on the shortlist for any WLAN opportunities in in-store retail, hospitality, manufacturing, transportation and logistics and other verticals that have data collection or location requirements.”

Zebra has other products such as mobile computers, scanners, specialty printers, RFID, software and services – for identifying, tracking and managing critical assets, people and transactions that are not part of this deal.

Meyercord added he expects the new business will generate more than $115 million in new annualized revenue. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including certain regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The Zebra buy is just the latest piece of a rapidly changing and shrinking wireless LAN vendor environment. In the past couple years, HP bought Aruba, Fortinet grabbed up Meru and most recently Brocade nabbed Ruckus. Extricom and Solarwinds have also been bought up. Generally experts say tin the end he purchases mean a stronger overall product rather than a piecemeal point offering, but customers who only need a part of a wireless access package might be forced into buying larger more pricey products.

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