The Name Game at Channel Partners Expo: 25 Years of Channel Changes

M&A has been part of the channel since its beginnings. We look at 16 examples from our own expo hall.

16 Slides

There have been a lot of name changes on the Channel Partners Expo Hall floor over the past 25 years. Companies have merged, made acquisitions, transformed and rebranded. In most cases, their DNA remains in play, but their names have disappeared. For example, Alltel had been in business for nearly 75 years when it was acquired by Verizon Wireless and AT&T, which formally dissolved it in 2016.

One Communications, itself the result of a merger between CTC Communications and Choice One Communications in 2006, was officially acquired by EarthLink Business (the result of EarthLink’s merger with Deltacom in 2010) in 2011 and became part of EarthLink Business. (And although its name remains the same, EarthLink Business merged with Windstream in 2017. Windstream then sold a large part of it to Trive Capital in 2019.)

Founded in 1996, Access Integrated Networks expanded largely through acquisitions. In 2007, it acquired Birch Telecom and rebranded as Birch Communications. Growth through acquisition continued until 2018, when Birch Communications was acquired by and disappeared into Fusion Connect.

Level 3 Communications came to be in 1985 and, like Birch, fueled its growth with a number of acquisitions. On Nov. 1, 2017, Level 3 officially merged with CenturyLink (which rebranded as Lumen Technologies in 2020).

M&A is an ongoing dance in the channel and tracking that “brand-dango” can be close to impossible. Still, we thought it would be fun to take a look at what happened to 16 of the booths that appeared on and then disappeared from the Channel Partners Expo Hall floor.

Scroll through the gallery above to see how many of these names from the past you remember.

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