IP phone company ShoreTel has today announced that it is beefing up its offerings by acquiring unified communications company M5 Networks in a deal that is valued up to $146 million in cash and stock. ShoreTel's motivation for snatching up M5 was an effort to be able to offer its customers a choice of either on-premise or hosted solutions, enabling the company to reach a larger and growing market of users looking to deploy unified communications solutions. Gartner predicts that the "Voice as a Service" market is expected to show a 36 percent compounded annual growth rate in North America before 2015 -- to $2.2 billion. ShoreTel acquired enterprise mobility leader Agito Networks in October 2010 to extend the unified communications technology to mobile devices, enabling them to solve the bring-your-own-device problems that are changing the enterprise market. M5 Networks, too, has made a couple of acquisitions lately, including Callfinity last year and Geckotech the year prior. The cloud communications company, which was founded in 2000, provides phone systems, applications, and cloud communications for businesses, and claims to be one of the country's largest specialized VoIP providers. Under the terms of the deal, M5 shareholders will receive approximately $84 million in cash and 9.5 million shares of ShoreTel stock, for a total of about $146.3 million in "initial consideration based on ShoreTel's average stock price over the prior 30 days of trading." Furthermore, M5 shareholders could receive additional consideration of up to $13.7, according to the company's statement. ShoreTel announced its Q2 earnings today, with revenue coming in at $58.0 million, up 8 percent sequentially from the first quarter of fiscal 2012 and up 22 percent from the second quarter of fiscal year 2011. Despite GAAP net loss for the quarter being $2.5 million, or $0.05 per share, ShoreTel had some highlights over the last six months, forging a distribution relationship with Ingram Micro in October, an expanded distribution agreement with Windstream, a North American communications service provider, along with expanding its relationship with Hewlett Packard, which will become a reseller of ShoreTel's "Mobility solution." According to the statement, following the close of the acquisition, M5 will be operated as a ShoreTel business unit, which will be led by M5 CEO Dan Hoffman, while engineering teams will remain separate. For more, see ShorTel's announcement of the acquisition here and the announcement of its Q2 earnings here. Check out our prior coverage of M5 Networks here.
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