Mitel Acquires Contact Center OEM PrairieFyre

Mitel is paying approximately $20 million for Ottawa-based prairieFyre, which has been the OEM for the bulk of Mitel's contact center suite for the past 15 years, the companies told CRN Monday.

Mitel CFO Steve Spooner said Mitel was actively looking to invest in its contact center business and that, given its existing relationship with prairieFyre, the move seemed like a natural next step.

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"The most logical candidate to bring into the fold, so to speak, was prairieFyre," Spooner said.

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According to Spooner, Mitel's contact center business, which today offers both on-premise and hosted solutions, is the most rapidly growing unit within Mitel, with the exception of its cloud business. Spooner attributed this to the fact that most organizations see contact center solutions as a must-have buy, given the fact that they are 100 percent customer-facing.

"In a challenging economic environment where customers will defer an IP telephony purchase, they are not as likely to defer a contact center purchase," Spooner said.

The newly merged Mitel and prairieFyre unit will be led by former prairieFyre CEO Chris Courneya, who will now act as vice president and general manager of Mitel Contact Centers.

Courneya said the whole prairieFyre team, including its nearly 1,200 solution providers, will make the move with him to Mitel. He also stressed that the move should be a seamless one for partners, since they have always sold prairieFyre solutions under the Mitel brand and, as a result, have already been certified by Mitel to do so.

"We've built a really strong channel over the past 15 years with Mitel," Courneya said.

Mitel's Spooner noted that the formal acquisition of prairieFyre could also quiet some of Mitel's competitors, which in the past have criticized Mitel for not creating its own contact center solutions in-house.

"We wanted to get that issue off the table," Spooner said.

Mitel's acquisition of prairieFyre formally closed Monday, and Mitel said the deal is expected to be accretive within the first year.