Networking News

Report: Siemens Enterprise Majority Owner In Hot Pursuit Of Polycom

Chad Berndtson
The Financial Times videoconferencing

Citing people familiar with the situation, The Financial Times reported late Thursday that the Los Angeles-based Gores Group initially approached Polycom last October and then backed off.

According to the Times sources, however, Gores' pursuit of Polycom has resumed, following reports that Apax Partners, which was said to have been in talks to take Polycom private for $3 billion, had backed out.

The Gores Group owns a 51 percent stake in Siemens Enterprise Communications, which in January announced a strategic partnership and global reseller agreement with Polycom for video, voice and telepresence products.

According to The Financial Times, The Gores Group sent a letter earlier this week to Polycom Chairman and CEO Robert Hagerty requesting a meeting. Gores first bought its majority stake in Siemens Enterprise Communications in October 2008, and the company is a joint venture of Gores and the parent Siemens.

Neither The Gores Group nor Polycom responded immediately to requests for comment.

A combined Siemens Enterprise Communications-Polycom business would create a new powerhouse in video and UC collaboration to compete with Cisco, currently in the process of acquiring Polycom rival Tandberg, and other UC titans like Avaya, which now commands the former Nortel enterprise portfolio.

Siemens Enteprise Communications has been actively trying to expand its presence in North America, where it has not typically had channel strength, with new programs and key partnerships with national VARs like Shared Technologies.

Earlier this week at VoiceCon, Siemens announced a new version of its OpenScape UC Server 2010 platform and a partnership with VMware to develop products for data center and cloud deployments.

The ongoing consolidation of the video conferencing space, which in the past six months has seen Cisco acquire Tandberg and Logitech snap up LifeSize Communications, has meant a swirl of M&A rumors for Polycom. Among large IT companies, Dell, Siemens, HP and Juniper have all been previously suggested as potential suitors.

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