Ericsson has entered into an agreement to acquire Vonage Holdings Corp. for $21 per share. This represents a total acquisition price of approximately $6.2 billion (Enterprise Value).
The merger agreement was approved unanimously by the Board of Vonage. The transaction builds upon Ericsson’s stated intent to expand globally in wireless enterprise, offering existing customers an increased share of a market valued at USD 700 billion by 2030.
Börje Ekholm, president and CEO of Ericsson, said in a prepared release, “The core of our strategy is to build leading mobile networks through technology leadership. This provides the foundation to build an enterprise business. The acquisition of Vonage is the next step in delivering on that strategic priority. Vonage gives us a platform to help our customers monetize the investments in the network, benefitting developers and businesses. Imagine putting the power and capabilities of 5G, the biggest global innovation platform, at the fingertips of developers. Then back it with Vonage’s advanced capabilities, in a world of 8 billion connected devices. Today we are making that possible.
“Today Network APIs are an established market for messaging, voice and video, but with a significant potential to capitalize on new 4G and 5G capabilities. Vonage’s strong developer ecosystem will get access to 4G and 5G network APIs, exposed in a simple and globally unified way. This will allow them to develop new innovative global offerings. Communication Service Providers will be able to better monetize their investments in network infrastructure by creating new API driven revenues. Finally, businesses will benefit from the 5G performance, impacting operational performance, and share in new value coming from applications on top of the network.”
Rory Read, CEO of Vonage, added, “Ericsson and Vonage have a shared ambition to accelerate our long-term growth strategy. The convergence of the internet, mobility, the cloud and powerful 5G networks are forming the digital transformation and intelligent communications wave, which is driving a secular change in the way businesses operate. The combination of our two companies offers exciting opportunities for customers, partners, developers and team members to capture this next wave.”
“We believe joining Ericsson is in the best interests of our shareholders and is a testament to Vonage’s leadership position in business cloud communications, our innovative product portfolio, and outstanding team.”
For Ericsson, the acquisition builds on the success of the integration of Cradlepoint in September 2020. Cradlepoint has continued to develop strongly under Ericsson’s ownership.
Vonage, a global provider of cloud-based communications, has a track record of growth and margin evolution. Sales were $1.4 billion in the 12-month period to 30 September 2021, and over the same period, Vonage delivered an adjusted EBITDA margin of 14 percent and free cash flow of $109 million.
The cloud-based Vonage Communications Platform (VCP) serves more than 120,000 customers and more than 1 million registered developers globally. The API (Application Programming Interface) platform within VCP allows developers to embed high quality communications – including messaging, voice and video – into applications and products, without back-end infrastructure or interfaces. Vonage also provides Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions as part of the Vonage Communications Platform.
VCP accounts for approximately 80 percent of Vonage’s revenues and delivered revenue growth in excess of 20 percent in the three-year period to 2020, with adjusted EBITDA margins moving from -19 percent in 2018 to break-even in the 12-month period to 30 September 2021. Vonage’s management team projects annual growth of more than 20 percent for VCP in the coming years.
Vonage’s presence in the Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) segment will provide Ericsson with an opportunity to access a complementary, substantial and high growth segment. With increasing investments in 4G and 5G – and a flourishing ecosystem of new applications and use cases leveraging the power of modern networks – demand from enterprises for programmable networks has been accelerating.
CPaaS technologies democratize network access by offering API enabled communications services. The CPaaS market is expected to reach $22 billion by 2025, growing at 30 percent annually. In addition, Ericsson’s global leadership in 5G technology is expected to provide access to the developing space for open network APIs, which is expected to reach at least $8 billion by the end of the decade with a strong growth profile.
CSP customers also benefit from monetizing their network investments, optimizing the user experience and stimulating additional growth opportunities with new and advanced global network APIs and access to Vonage’s unified communications and contact center solutions.
The combination of Vonage’s customer base and developer community and Ericsson’s deep network expertise, 26,000 R&D specialists and global reach create opportunities to accelerate standalone strategies and innovation in the market. This includes accelerating enterprise digitalization and developing advanced APIs made possible by 5G; putting the power of the wireless network and communications at the finger-tips of the developer. Such APIs can be applied to help ensure the quality of critical services like telemedicine, immersive virtual education and autonomous vehicles as well as experiential performance benefits in gaming, augmented and extended reality, over wireless.
In the longer term, Ericsson intends to offer value benefits to the full ecosystem – telecom operators, developers, and businesses – by creating a global platform for open network innovation, built on Ericsson and Vonage’s complementary solutions.