Mitel Sells DataNet CommSource Unit To EarthBend

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Mitel said the sale of the unit, which primarily distributed other telephony and networking products complementary to Mitel direct sales, signals its shift from a direct to a more channel-fueled go-to-market strategy.

"Employees and partners are cornerstones of Mitel's business and corporate values," said Richard McBee, president and CEO of Mitel, in a statement. "With EarthBend, I am delighted that we identified a buyer that recognizes the skills and talent inherent in DataNet CommSource employees, and also the growth opportunity associated with ongoing support of Mitel's channel business in the U.S."

[Related: Mitel U.S. Channel Chief Departs ]

Mitel said the more than 40 employees in the DataNet CommSource unit will transition immediately to EarthBend, which largely serves the U.S. Midwest. The new unit will be headed by Ryan Donovan, general manager of Mitel's DataNet CommSource business.

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According to Mitel, the sale of DataNet CommSource is part of its ongoing strategy to simplify the company's core business and start funneling more of that business through its North American channel.

The Ottawa-based unified communications company has made significant changes to its channel program over the past few years, including the May 2011 launch of a new strategy called 3+1, which is designed to reposition Mitel as more of a midmarket UC and networking vendor that drives sales predominantly through the channel.

In December 2011, Mitel also unveiled its Authorized Partner Service Program (APSP), which subcontracts Mitel solution providers to deliver local services and support for Mitel products and select customers, many of which were previously exclusive to Mitel's direct accounts.

Mitel's efforts to grow its channel have already started to pay off; the company confirmed in June that it now sells 70 percent through solution providers -- a significant uptick from prior years -- and nearly 100 percent in other parts of the world.