ShoreTel acquires M5 Networks

ShoreTel had a blockbuster week, announcing it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire M5 Networks, giving its customers a choice between on-premise and hosted UC solutions. The acquisition allows ShoreTel to quickly offer cloud-based unified communications as a service (UCaaS) to customers that are looking to deploy IP communications through a hosted model. M5 is a service provider with customer base of more than 2,000 companies.

Tech M&A deals of 2011

ShoreTel will acquire M5's "entire operation including its customer base, distribution capability, and proprietary network, and will be extending offers to substantially all of its employees," according to the company's statement. Plans call for the engineering teams to remain separate, although they will cooperate and coordinate to leverage the innovation and best practices. The current ShoreTel Champion Partner reseller program will evolve to ability to offer hosted services once resellers have been qualified and certified. The deal is subject to customary approvals.

M5 will be operated as a ShoreTel business unit and will be led by M5 CEO Dan Hoffman, who commented in a statement, "M5 is proud to be one of the leaders in the UC cloud market. Joining forces with ShoreTel enables us to reach our ambitions of scale and cement our position in the hosted UC marketplace."

The news was "icing on the cake" for ShoreTel that also reported its Q4 2011 results: It had a record number of 134,000 user licenses shipped in the quarter, with just under 1,300 new business customers joining ShoreTel -- bringing its total to more than 20,000 customers and more than 2 million user software licenses in 46 countries around the world.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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