Swyx and Voiceworks Merge and Acquire Centile
Within Reach Group (WRG), parent company of Voiceworks, announce merger with Swyx Group and the further acquisition of Centile
Swyx Group have announced that they are to merge with the Within Reach Group (WRG), who are the parent company of Voiceworks, to form arguably the largest European communication services provider.
As well as the merger, the newly formed group will also be adding French Centile Telecom Applications to the portfolio. Centile is a leading provider of fixed-mobile convergence platforms for service providers and mobile network operators.
The European buy & build strategy is implemented by the Swyx, Voiceworks and Centile brands in the core markets of Germany, the Netherlands and France and opens up further growth for the partners with UC expertise in 23 international markets and locations in seven European countries.
UC Today were able to catch up with Managing Director of Swyx Solutions, Dr. Ralf Ebbinghaus to discuss the deals.
Ralf told us that Swyx had been seeking investment to enable their further growth and expansion before their acquisition by private equity firm Waterland.
Even prior to the deal with Waterland, Swyx had already compiled a list of target organisations where they saw potential for exciting technological development and where there might be the possibility for purchases or mergers. Once the Swyx Waterland deal was finalised, the two were able to push on to start negotiations with the organisations they saw as the highest priority.
“We had a list of companies, there is still a lot more companies on that list, where it made sense to merge with them, or acquire them.”
“With the competences and products of the three champions we not only support our existing partners even better, but also offer potential partners new growth and sales opportunities.”
“We are expanding the portfolio in three ways. On the one hand, we offer award winning tailor-made solutions for the SME market on-premises and in private cloud and are now supplementing these with complete integration in the mobile communications sector. With the expertise of Voiceworks we will address the growing market of integrated UC solutions in the public cloud for the smaller customer segments. In addition, Centile is already very successfully established in the European carrier market with highly scalable cloud telephony solutions. We are thus strengthening our international presence – on both the market and product sides,” says Ebbinghaus.”
Headquartered in Almere, the Netherlands, with offices in Spain, Germany, Romania and Serbia, Voiceworks integrates fixed, mobile and web communications in a cloud product for small and medium-sized businesses and sells them through over 250 Wholesale partners.
In terms of branding there are no immediate plans to consolidate the different businesses. Each brand has strong market recognition in its core geographic area and so it appears to makes strategic sense for them to utilise that recognition to maintain and grow their market share. The strategy, although yet to be confirmed, appears to be that the complimentary products sets offered by each part of the business will be cross sold by the group into the different regions.
“We clearly decided to use the strength of our brand names in the different regions, at least for the time being. Moving forward we might come up with another decision but for the time being it makes total sense to stay as we are.”
The last focus of merger and subsequent acquisition is cost savings but this is the last priority in comparison to strategic alliance and the opportunity to offer different services and solutions into new geographical areas managed by the different partners.
Christoph Wichmann, Managing Director of Voiceworks Germany, sees promising synergies in the merger.
“All parties have been extraordinary successful in their segment and will continue to do so, but with our joint offering we cover a much broader range of the market, from on-premises to public cloud with Swyx as a strong brand, but also in a Whitelabel model, depending on the partners’ needs.”
As part of the new group, Centile will contribute a multi-tenant UC and FMC platform with some of the largest European cloud implementations. “The addition of Centile to the new holding will be an important step in the further expansion of the UCaaS portfolio,” says Bertrand Pourcelot, Directeur Général Centile.
The growth of Voiceworks, Centile and Swyx is remarkable and will be further accelerated through the merger, mentions Dr. Carsten Rahlfs, Managing Partner of Waterland Private Equity who supports the newly created group.
“Our strategic involvement in the European UC market is making rapid progress – only six months after our investment in Swyx we already see the outline of a European UC group with almost 500 employees and a revenue of 130 million euro “.
Ralf also has ambitious plans for the new group. They are considering further acquisitions in one of three target areas. They are examining innovative technology businesses, where there could be an opportunity to develop a new market, as well as other acquisitions that might further expand their customer base or geographical presence.
“The whole story is not finished, we are at point where we are a more serious player who will get noticed. But step number two is to grow from this point on, to become a true European champion.”
The transactions are still dependant on the standard checks and balances that apply during mergers and acquisitions but all parties expect the deals to be completed by the end of August. On September the 6th Swyx will be hosting their Partner and Technology Conference at Herrenhausen Castle in Hannover, so there may well be further announcements and details revealed then.