2009 opens with merger mania

* Force10, Turin Networks join merger-and-acquisition parade

The year has started off with a bang, as vendors found new dance partners on the first Monday of 2009. Included in the do-si-do are Force10 Networks and Turin Networks, and it's easy to see why.

Force10 Networks specializes in 10 Gigabit Ethernet switching equipment, an area that Network World has identified as one of the hottest technologies for the new year. Industry analysts are predicting good things to come for 10 Gigabit Ethernet, with data center networking being the primary driver.

Meanwhile, Turin Networks specializes in wireless backhaul and Carrier Ethernet. See my colleague Jim Duffy's story for full details of the merger.

The merger obviously comes at a time of widespread economic worry, a time when you might think that it helps to be a larger company with consolidated internal functions and diverse product offerings.

View a slide show of 2008's hottest tech M&A deals

That said, Nortel is a large company with diverse offerings, and it's on the ropes and trying to sell off pieces of itself. 

But other companies in this area have seen strength in consolidation. The most notable example is Brocade Communications' acquisition of Foundry Networks last year. Interestingly, the combined company lost Foundry founder Bobby Johnson but picked up former Force10 CEO Marc Randall as a senior VP.

Other deals were struck on the first Monday of the year. CA said it is buying Orchestria, which makes data-leak prevention products. And BMC announced it acquired assets from SourceLabs, which makes management tools for Linux and open-source software. Obviously, the idea of consolidating in the face of current economic times goes beyond network hardware companies. Will we see more consolidation in 2009?

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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