Does Avaya's Owner Want Tandberg?
Via Fierce Telecom, we learn that Silver Lake, the private equity firm that owns Avaya, may be the company that's been rumored to have approached Tandberg about acquiring the video vendor.Dan O'Shea, who wrote the article at Fierce, notes the various Charlie Giancarlo-Silver Lake-Cisco-Avaya connections, but leaves out the most critical: the fact that Giancarlo is currently Avaya's interim CEO.
If Silver Lake is the potential buyer, you'd have to wonder if they're planning a joint venture in the style of the recent Gores Group move, in which they acquired Siemens Enterprise and folded it into a JV with with Enterasys and SER. Bolstering Avaya with Tandberg would make for a pretty powerful competitor to Cisco (while also validating Cisco's big bet on telepresence, one in which Cisco caught the other communications vendors napping).
Such an offer could, indeed, set off a bidding war for Tandberg, as many have suggested. As Fierce Telecom notes, Tandberg has a partnership with Nortel for telepresence, and Nortel has been in a bit of a buying mood recently. You could see Gores Group jumping in to add Tandberg to the SEN JV. That is, there could be a bidding war if telepresence starts to look like something that every vendor needs in its arsenal to be seen as a credible system vendor.
So while we've all been talking about consolidation in terms of PBX vendors buying each other, we can see that what the market values is UC capabilities--from open source SIP (Nortel + Pingtel) on up to heavy-duty telepresence (Tandberg + ?). It's not about buying capabilities that basically overlap your own; it's about adding what you need to compete in the Unified Communications future.