AdvanTel Networks, a San Jose, Calif.-based solution provider and Avaya Platinum and Juniper Elite partner, recently acquired the customer base of ACT-Cascades, a Portland, Ore.-based telephony VAR in the process of shutting down its business.
Both companies have been around since 1984, and AdvanTel will gain about 2,000 customers in northern Oregon and southwestern Washington state, according to Dan Ferguson, AdvanTel's vice president of sales.
ACT-Cascades sought out AdvanTel as AdvanTel made intentions known to continue growing its footprint in the Northwestern U.S., he said.
"It complements where we've grown in the last two and a half years," Ferguson told CRN. "They're ready to wind down their business and we had an opportunity to buy the customer base as an asset."
ACT-Cascades' focus has been on PBX and telephony products from Avaya and Cisco, as well as interconnect and carrier services from vendors such as Qwest. But with the convergence of networking and the data center forcing many VARs to expand their practices, Ferguson said, ACT-Cascades didn't make the transition.
"They grew up in the interconnect era, and when convergence started to occur, a number of companies didn't make the adjustment to pick up data and become more of a converged VAR," Ferguson said. "The data VARs became voice-enabled and picked up voice practices, and now you have to have a data practice when you talk to IT professionals making the buying decisions."
ACT-Cascades transferred its customers to AdvanTel as of Dec. 31, and has spent the last two weeks preparing to shut its doors. A few technical employees from ACT-Cascades are joining AdvanTel, Ferguson said.
The two companies had been in discussions for about a year, he added, and the acquisition marks AdvanTel's fifth overall and first since it bought former Avaya partner Prime Business Solutions in 2009.
"If another opportunity presents itself, we'll do another one," he said. "We've had other opportunities that we turned down. There is a fair amount of opportunity out there as the smaller shops get squeezed. A lot of them are in amazingly bad shape financially. It's amazing how many voice channel partners are completely upside down right now."
M&A activity has been rampant in the Avaya channel over the past several years, especially following Avaya's integration of Nortel's former enterprise business. Among the past year's major moves have been Xeta Technologies' acquisition by Paetec, Arrow Electronics' pickup of Cross Telecom, a series of acquisitions by Carousel Industries, and Strategic Products & Services' (SPS) recent acquisitions of Imagine Technologies and Spenser Communications.