Struggling Meru Takes Growth Capital Debt Financing


Meru Networks has taken in $12 million in growth capital debt financing from Western Technology Investment, the wireless networking specialist confirmed this week. The financing is structured to provide the $12 million to Meru immediately, with expected amortization over a period of 39 months.

Western Technology Investment also has backed 3Par, Facebook, Google and Juniper. Jay Cohan, a Western Technology Investment partner, highlighted Meru's potential for long-term value creation.

"Meru is aimed to capitalize on the wireless LAN market, which is projected to see nearly 20 percent year-over-year growth through 2013," Cohan said in a statement.

[Related: Outgoing Meru CEO: Wired Is Not The Future]

Meru has staked much of its growth on virtualized 802.11n wireless wares and has continued to fine-tune its channel program as it makes spot acquisitions and adds executives, including a new president and CEO, Bami Bastani, in March. It faces substantial competition from the likes of WLAN big guns Cisco and Aruba as well as from pre-IPO upstart Ruckus Wireless.

"We believe this investment by [Western Technology Investment] further validates Meru's strategy and approach in this vibrant and growing market," Bastani said in a statement. "Meru's technology is specifically designed to meet the tsunami of bring-your-own-device."

Meru went public in 2010 but has seen its stock price continue to bottom-feed since an all-time high of $22.19 in March 2011. As of Thursday's close, its price was $1.79 per share, above its current 52-week low of $1.52.

In an interview with CRN in January, then-CEO Ihab Abu-Hakima said Meru's stock price was not concerning.

"I am pleased with where we are," he said at the time. "The stock price will go up, and come down, but in the end it will reflect what we believe will be the end of the execution of our strategic plan. I am not concerned with the short-term status of the stock price."

Meru's financials have struggled, however. In its first fiscal quarter, whose results were reported April 30, Meru posted revenue of $19.4 million, down 4 percent from a year ago, and a GAAP loss of $14.5 million, wider than the $3.4 million loss from the year-earlier quarter. At the time, Bastani cited seasonal weakness as well as challenges due to executive and product transitions.