February 02, 2018

IoTeamups: IoT Industry Deals Drive Innovation

Over the last several months we’ve seen billions of dollars and stock options change hands as players join forces and absorb other players in strategically chosen verticals, while major IT companies gather cash from eager investors looking to get in on the action.

Numerex, a major provider of enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things, and Sierra Wireless, a well-recognized provider of fully integrated device-to-cloud solutions for the IoT, mergeed under an agreement that Sierra Wireless will acquire Numerex in a stock-for-stock merger transaction.

The reported equity value was about $107 million based on Sierra Wireless’ closing stock price on Aug. 1, 2017, of $29.65 per share. Under the terms of the merger, Numerex shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of 0.1800 common shares of Sierra Wireless for each share of Numerex common stock.

At the close of the deal on December 7, 2017, Numerex became a subsidiary of Sierra Wireless and about 10 percent of the common shares of Sierra Wireless were to be held by Numerex shareholders. Concurrent with closing, Sierra Wireless repayed Numerex’s outstanding current debt of about $20 million in cash.

This might be the most important recent combination, with these two major enterprise providers combining resources under the Sierra Wireless banner. This should give any competitors pause in the cloud and connectivity spaces, since the joint capabilities represented here position the company to step into the ring with the biggest IoT companies in the world.

In another recently announced combination, Pacific Special Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, and Borqs International Holding Corp., have successfully concluded a merger by which BORQS became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pacific and the former stockholders of BORQS acquired a majority of the outstanding equity of the company. The transaction was approved at a special meeting of the company's shareholders held on Aug.10, 2017.

Meanwhile, Centerbridge Partners, a private investment firm, has announced the completion of its $1.26 billion acquisition of enterprise software providers Syncsort Inc. and Vision Solutions from affiliates of Clearlake Capital Group. Clearlake, which acquired Syncsort in 2015 and Vision in 2016, will retain a minority ownership stake in the combined company.

In vertical market news, German-based Osram, the rapidly growing international lighting company that includes Sylvania and Traxon, will acquire Digital Lumens, a company that specializes in industrial IoT solutions. Plans are in place to integrate some of Osram’s existing digital services into the Digital Lumens platform. This includes the navigation and location solution Einstone, which uses Bluetooth to send targeted offers to people's smartphones, most often used in retail environments. Osram said it will increasingly be positioning itself not only as a provider of platform-based industrial IoT applications but also as a partner for tailor-made solutions, which optimize processes within buildings.

In the world of new investments, one of the key new rounds came to Cubic Telecom, a global Internet of Things connectivity platform company, which recently closed a $48 million Series C investment round. The new investment, which brings the company’s total funding to more than $80 million, is provided by four participants, including previous investors Qualcomm Inc. and Audi Electronics Venture GmbH, a subsidiary of AUDI AG. New investors include Valid Soluciones Tecnologicas SAU and Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.

Qualcomm and Audi were both early investors and steadfast supporters in Cubic, and this most recent investment with new partners Valid and ISIF will fuel the Irish company’s continued growth and market expansion.

The company said that this new investment round will accelerate continued refinements of its IoT platform and extend its global footprint. The company will also expand its engineering capabilities in Dublin, bringing more job creation to the company’s headquarters.

In a smaller round, but equally telling about key areas of IoT industry interest, Israeli startup Axonius has announced $4 million in new seed funding for its mission to secure and manage the growing billions of connected devices in use by businesses. Backing for the technology platform, which is designed to let IT and security operations teams enable the agile and secure adoption and usage of the widest variety of current and future devices on the network, comes from YL Ventures, with participation from Vertex Ventures and Emerge.

“We are experiencing a Cambrian-like explosion on our networks,” said Yoav Leitersdorf, managing partner at YL Ventures, who led the Axonius funding round. “Mobility, cloud, and IoT are creating a near exponential increase in the types and numbers of user, compute, and new devices connecting to enterprise networks. With this explosion comes the inherent cyber risk associated with the lack of visibility, security, and control.”

Ken Briodagh is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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