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Both companies have invested heavily in their channel programs and SD-WAN/SASE solutions.

James Anderson

August 25, 2021

3 Min Read
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Comcast Business is buying software-defined network services provider Masergy. It’s a move likely to have significant implications for partners as both companies are very active in the channel.

Announcing the acquisition on Wednesday, Comcast Business executives hail Masergy as a boon for its midmarket and enterprise initiatives.

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Comcast Business’ Bill Stemper

“Masergy provides a perfect complement to our portfolio of enterprise services and solutions and will allow us to instantly and dramatically amplify our growth in the global enterprise market,” said Bill Stemper, president, Comcast Business. “We’re excited to welcome Masergy’s employees and leadership to Comcast Business as we bring continued innovation and superior experience to our customers.”

Multiple private equity firms have acquired Masergy over the years. Most recently, Berkshire Partners bought it in 2016. Comcast isn’t saying how much it is paying for Masergy.

Irwin Lazar, president and principal analyst for research firm Metrigy, said the deal makes sense for both companies. He said Comcast gives Masergy a last-mile footprint that it doesn’t have. And Comcast significantly expands its technology portfolio.

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Metrigy’s Irwin Lazar

“For Comcast, it allows them to expand their enterprise networking offerings via Masergy’s global SD-WAN and managed network security offerings,” Lazar told Channel Futures.

We recently compiled a list of 20 top SD-WAN providers offering products and services via channel partners.

Comcast & SD-WAN

While Comcast’s software-defined networking platform utilizes Versa Networks for SD-WAN, Masergy has teamed up with Fortinet to launch multiple SD-WAN and SASE offerings. Comcast Business executives have said their company started offering SD-WAN before any other cableco back in 2017.  And the service paid dividends, helping Comcast make inroads in the midmarket.

“We are enterprise-ready, and this platform is ready to sell against any competitor out there today, and we’re beginning to see traction now,” said Craig Schlagbaum, Comcast Business’ vice president of indirect channels, back in 2018.

Masergy owns a solid footprint in the enterprise sector, but the company recently reported midmarket growth. According to Masergy, 62% of its new customers are coming from the midmarket.

Lazar also pointed to Masergy’s Performance Edge solution, which it launched as a broadband assurance offering earlier this year. Adding that solution helps Comcast better support remote workers, Lazar said.

Partner Perspective

Both companies have invested heavily in the channel. Masergy a year ago launched the Zenith partner program, which helped the company increase its channel sales 70% year over year. The companies partner with many of the same service distributors.

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Masergy’s Chris MacFarland

“On behalf of everyone at Masergy, we are thrilled to join the Comcast Business family and are extremely excited for the next chapter of Masergy. We are confident that together we can significantly enhance our service offerings to businesses of all sizes in their journey to the cloud,” Masergy chairman and CEO Chris MacFarland said.

Earnings

Comcast reported significant year-over-year improvements in its second-quarter earnings. Business services revenue jumped from $2 billion in the year-ago quarter to $2.2 billion; the company enjoyed a net gain of 17,000 business customers.

We know that Masergy made $306 million in 2017. Former CEO James Parker told Light Reading he wanted to bring the company to $1 billion in annual revenue.  Assuming Masergy is sitting between $300 and $500 million, it is anywhere from one-seventh the size of Comcast Business to one-fourth.

The deal still needs to get regulatory approval. Stay glued to Channel Futures for more information, including partner reaction to the deal.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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