Cloud UC Player Smoothstone Now West IP Communications

Smoothstone, which was acquired by communications behemoth West Corp

West bought Smoothstone for about $120 million as part of an ongoing bulk-up of its unified communications arm, which also includes conferencing and collaboration services specialist InterCall. Smoothstone's communications-as-a-service offerings include VoIP, application-aware MPLS, unified messaging and unified threat management -- all major, continued priorities for West, its executives said.

"Aligning our IP communications business with the West name gives us a consistent voice and clarity in the marketplace," Todd Strubbe, president of West's UC business segment, said in a statement.

West was recently positioned in the "Challengers" quadrant of Gartner's 2011 Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as Service, North America. Cloud UC players have been a magnet for M&A activity in recent years; New York-based hosted VoiP provider M5 Networks was recently acquired by ShoreTel, for example.

Omaha, Neb.-based West has grown substantially via acquisition over the past decade, having added InterCall, the conferencing assets of Sprint, Raindance, Genesys SA, Holly Connects, SKT Communications, Tuvox, Twenty First Century Communications, Unisfair and Preferred One Stop Technologies since 2003.

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The company's most recent acquisitions were the telecommunications business of PivotPoint Solutions, acquired through West's Intrado subsidiary in in August 2011, and HyperCube, a provider of local and national tandem services whose $76.6 million acquisition West closed earlier this week.