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Anexinet To Acquire Cisco Partner Light Networks For ‘Full Stack’ Data Center Offering

The acquisition will add solutions including unified communications as a service and contact center as service from the ‘fast-growing’ Cisco Premier partner, Anexinet CEO Brian Glahn said in an interview.

Channel powerhouse Anexinet announced Thursday that it has reached an agreement to acquire communications-focused solution provider Light Networks, in a move to expand its data center services offering and footprint in the southeastern U.S.

Founded in 2006 and based in Atlanta, Light Networks is a Cisco Premier partner with offerings that include unified communications as a service, contact center as service and telecommunications services.

[Related: Anexinet Names Brian Glahn New CEO]

Anexinet, which is No. 213 on CRN’s Solution Provider 500 for 2021 and based in Blue Bell, Pa., counts Cisco among its existing partners in addition to companies including Amazon Web Services, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Microsoft.

“We found a really exciting, really fast growing business in Light Networks,” said Brian Glahn, Anexinet’s recently appointed CEO, in an interview with CRN. “They had the data center aspect and products and services that we were looking for around the network, collaboration, contact center, as well as customer experience for our digital transformation offering.”

Light Networks has been seeing strong year-over-year growth in 2021, Glahn said. The companies, which have no overlap in geography or customers, will “immediately” start cross-selling products and services to customers, he said.

“It‘s nothing but opportunity for both organizations, and for both customer sets,” Glahn said.

Backing the acquisition is New York-based private equity firm Mill Point Capital, which acquired Anexinet in 2019. Financial terms of the Light Networks acquisition deal were not disclosed.

Light Networks is poised to become Anexinet’s second acquisition within a year. In October, Anexinet reached an agreement to acquire SereneIT, a solution provider specializing in data center automation and AI, to bolster its engineering capabilities and geographic reach.

And Anexinet is eyeing additional acquisitions as well, Glahn told CRN. The solution provider may look to expand its cloud capabilities, managed services and geographic footprint, with a focus on the East Coast, through future acquisitions, he said.

The company has also grown organically, Glahn said. Specifics on revenue growth were not disclosed, but Glahn said that he’s seen “significant growth year over year” due to customer demand for data center services around Anexinet’s cloud practice and managed services.

“Customers [are] trusting us to manage not just their data center, but now their applications,” Glahn said. “And we’re supporting a lot of those applications on an ongoing basis. It really gives us a full stack, from a data center perspective, bringing Cisco networking capabilities and security into our portfolio.”

The founders of Light Networks--CEO Robby Paul and Bill Gregory, the company’s chief operating officer and president--will continue to lead the Light Networks business under Anexinet’s ownership.

In terms of customer verticals, Light Networks brings a focus on health care, retail, finance, manufacturing and transportation, Paul said in an interview with CRN.

“The tie together between the two businesses allows us to broaden our digital transformation practice to include the full gambit associated with how a client would interact with someone for either customer service or sales or any other means of contacting a customer -- all of that underpinned by network expertise,” Paul said.

The customer base for UCaaS continues to grow with the expansion of remote work during the pandemic, he said.

“I would have said maybe two or three years ago it was vertical dependent. Not so anymore,” Paul said. “[With] the pandemic forcing everyone home, it really tested how well people had plans for this.”

Customer adoption of contact center as service technology, meanwhile, has been growing slightly faster than UCaaS due to the difficulty of building traditional contact centers--in addition to growing consumer demand for better digital interactions with companies, he said.

Online consumers “may interact with you digitally before they ever choose to pick up the phone or chat with you,” Paul said. “Tying the whole thing together is where we think that we’re going to gain a tremendous amount of value that we can deliver to our collective client base.”

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