Comcast’s planned acquisition of hybrid networking specialist Masergy Communications is a boon for the cable giant and could solidify its place in the channel, so long as Masergy can stay true to its channel-friendly roots, partners say.
Masergy, which does about 80 percent of its business today through partners, will couple its software-defined networking and SD-WAN, UCaaS and managed security technologies with Comcast Business’ robust fiber network once the deal closes.
“Masergy has built themselves into a channel powerhouse and a firm of rapid change — they really push the industry in next-generation wireless networking. For Comcast, this takes them global overnight and gives them a massive boost in the channel,” said Drew Lydecker, president and co-founder of master agent Avant, a Comcast and Masergy partner.
Partners told CRN that while the acquisition is very strategic and a “big win” for Comcast, Masergy can’t afford to lose its powerful channel momentum.
“Hopefully, Masergy stays channel-friendly because the direct side of Comcast is going to have a new arrow in their quiver,” said one channel partner that asked not to be named.
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Plano, Texas-based Masergy has always been a channel-first company, but “recommitted” to partners last year when it introduced its Zenith Partner Program and brought on its first-ever senior vice president of global channel sales, Jim Glackin. Masergy told CRN in July that its channel sales were up 70 percent year over year.
Masergy is excited to join Comcast Business and for what the combination means for its partner community, said Jim Glackin, Masergy’s first-ever senior vice president of global channel, who was brought on last year.
“We both have complementary services that businesses of all sizes need to compete in the market and our partner-first approach is completely aligned,” Glackin said in an email to CRN.
“I can only hope that [Masergy] is ready to continue that journey of the high net promoter score, that high end customer service and the white glove touch within Comcast Business,” Avant’s Lydecker said. “That will be the cure for any concerns.”
Lydecker added that the deal demonstrates Comcast Business’ increasing commitment to the channel. “The future is clearly pointing to the channel and the biggest companies are that,” he said. “I think it’s a testament to the trusted advisors and their capabilities and the movement that is taking place in the market as well.”
John DeLozier, president of Scansource-owned master agent Intelisys, said that the deal will allow partners to build out their technology offerings and extend their reach.
“The Comcast/Masergy partnership brings together two companies that are committed to making it easier for channel partners to consolidate their business around SD-WAN, connectivity and cable, bringing partners even more opportunity,” he said in an email to CRN.
Comcast in a statement on the deal said that the acquisition will accelerate its growth serving large and mid-size companies, particularly for US-based organizations with multi-site, global operations.
“The high-level win here for Comcast is the global enterprise game that Masergy knows how to play extremely well. They’ve got the roster to build from,” said Ted Schuman, founder and CEO of master agent and Platinum Masergy and Comcast partner PlanetOne, in an email to CRN.
“[Enterprise] is really right in Masergy’s wheelhouse. I think it’s really going to help Comcast get into the more of those higher end business accounts, said Patrick Oborn, co-founder and chief product officer for Sandy, Utah-based Telarus, a Comcast and Masergy partner.
Master agent Telarus is doing a substantial business overseas with Masergy in out of its International offices, but Comcast’s reach hasn’t left the US, until now, Oborn said. The partnership, he added, will give Comcast a global presence.
Masergy’s employees and leadership are set to become part of the Comcast Business team upon the close of the deal. Partners hope that Comcast will allow Masergy to operate on their own, backed by the telecom giant’s resources.
“I’m sure that during the acquisition process, they talked about the Masergy brand and I’m sure Comcast is going to be very protective of that brand,” the unnamed partner said. “There will be a lot to take from the acquisition, but I assume [Comcast] will keep [Masergy] operating on its own in the short term.”
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