B2B News for Thursday, July 7, 2022: More Cloud Mergers, a Super Nasty Acquisition Drama by Press Release

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The trend toward consolidation and growth plans in cloud-based companies is continuing. The trend is now seeing international moves coupled with the usual appointments following acquisition.

Airties, a provider of cloud-based managed Wi-Fi solutions has appointed Tony Ball as the new Chairman of its board. Philippe Alcaras will continue to serve as CEO. The company’s corporate headquarters is moving to Paris to support its global expansion plans. The two events are part of the completion of the acquisition of Airties by Providence Equity Partners, a private equity firm that specializes in growth-oriented investments in media, communications, education and technology.

“Airties is renowned for delivering among the best managed Wi-Fi solutions that enable exceptional end-user experiences to many of the most respected broadband service providers around the world,” said Tony Ball, Chairman of the Board at Airties. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside Philippe, and his team, to expand upon that success and explore new business opportunities. Millions of homes rely upon Airties to stay connected, productive, and entertained, and it’s exciting to believe we are still in the early stages of market penetration and global adoption.”  

Press release: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/tony-ball-former-chairman-of-kabel-deutschland-and-ceo-of-bskyb-named-as-airties-chairman-of-the-board-301581962.html

As a daily reader of press releases, I have never felt compelled to start an award for the most-exciting B2B release of the year. Until now. Grab some popcorn and lock the wheels of your desk chair for the start of this soap opera.

Corporate acquisitions are often nasty affairs. At least, nasty before the press releases go out. It’s more unusual for business journalists to get a ring side seat to nastiness in action. That is precisely what is happening with Aviat’s attempts to acquire Ceragon Networks and you simply must share in the fun. Aviat is an Israeli based wireless transport provider with its systems placed in 170 countries among communications service providers and private network operators that include state/local government, utility, federal government and defense organizations. It is also Ceragon’s third largest shareholder.

To force discussion of the acquisition offer, Aviat used its shareholder status to call for an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders to remove three directors. Ceragon acknowledged receipt of the call and told its shareholders they are not required to take any action. The result is a call-out by press release issued by Peter Smith, President and CEO of Aviat.

“While your lack of response is disappointing, it is not surprising, given your refusal for several months to engage constructively with us in negotiations regarding a transaction that would deliver compelling value to shareholders,” Smith’s letter to Ceragon reads. “Your failure to respond over the past week only demonstrates to us, and to our fellow shareholders, that transparency and communication are far from your top priorities. We have come to expect delay tactics from you, but your other shareholders deserve better. They deserve a Board that will confront the Company’s continued underperformance and that will consider opportunities to unlock value in earnest.”

Press release: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/aviat-networks-calls-out-ceragon-networks-failure-to-respond-to-acquisition-proposal-and-request-for-extraordinary-meeting-of-shareholders-301581864.html

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Kate Baggott

Kate Baggott

Kate Baggott is a former Managing Editor of B2BNN. Her technology and business journalism has appeared in the Technology Review, the Globe and Mail, Canada Computes, the Vancouver Sun and the Bay Street Bull. She is the author of the short story collections Love from Planet Wine Cooler and Dry Stories. Find links to recent articles by following her on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/kate-baggott-9a0306/