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A Quick Look at PGi's Acquisition of ACT Conferencing
PGi recently announced its acquisition of ACT Conferencing, for ~$44 million. Both organizations have been on our radar here at TPO, as they both have interesting visual collaboration platforms and related services. Sean O'Brien (PGi's EVP of Strategy and Communications), was kind enough to meet with me, using PGi's iMeet solution, to answer a few questions regarding the plans to integrate the assets of the two organizations.
My general feeling, after talking to Sean, is that this is just a great time to be PGi. The company is doing very well, with a strong cash flow and solid balance sheet. They have become skilled at using acquisitions as part of their growth model, a way to reinvest their profits to increase their share of the market. This is their 22nd acquisition and we should certainly expect to see more of the same in the future.
Sean stated that PGi has the world's largest global IP audio network. The company certainly has global reach and scale, and solid revenue, with its SaaS services alone generating ~$35 million annual revenue. They have a full range of collaboration products and services, and are extremely proud of iMeet's success, touting numerous industry awards.
Bottom line, this acquisition is not due to any weakness or gap in PGi's portfolio which needed to be addressed. In fact PGi is particularly looking forward to sharing their offerings with ACT's existing customers. This, in my opinion, is the story behind the story. ACT has a strong base of ~2,500 customers and partners, including a number of particularly desirable heavy hitters. PGi is well poised to serve these customers, but it would be difficult to gain them from straight out competition, because ACT's customers are happy. ACT is a good company, so if you can't beat em, buy em.
ACT has a solid, and apparently well-deserved, reputation for service and customer care. The only thing the company really lacks is a clear growth path, which is where PGi comes in. While ACT is a lot smaller than PGi, it's very similar in terms of service, strategy, and corporate culture, so it makes sense to expect to see a very complimentary integration of the organizations. Keep in mind, this is the 22nd acquisition for PGi, so ACT (and their customers) should find themselves in good hands, as PGi has some experience in managing the often tricky process of product / service / support integration.
In regards to iMeet, while I have not tested it extensively, it was extremely easy to join the meeting with Sean as a guest from my desktop, and we had a great meeting experience. I like the fact that it has a few unique features and design elements, without being so different that it was confusing or difficult to work with.
Keep your eyes on PGi. This is an aggressive company looking to continue growing. I expect to see a lot of activity coming from them in the next few years, as they continue to improve their platform for existing customers, and reach out to new ones.
About the Author
David Maldow, Esq. is a visual collaboration technologist and analyst with the Human Productivity Lab and an associate publisher at Telepresence Options. David has extensive expertise in testing, evaluating, and explaining telepresence and other visual collaboration / rich media solutions. David is focused on providing third-party independent analysis and opinion of these technologies and helping end users better secure their visual collaboration environments. You can follow David on Twitter and Google+.
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