Jaguar Communications and Voyager Networks, two of the UK's largest networking systems integrators, have been bought by telecoms companies.
Cable & Wireless (C&W) bought Jaguar and US-based RSL Communications acquired Voyager for undisclosed sums. The deals are part of a trend of consolidation, after telecoms company NTL purchased integrator Workplace Technologies last September and Energis bought Datarange last November.
Martin Hewitt, managing director of Jaguar Communications, said C&W gives Jaguar the backing to bid for the largest customers and an opportunity to expand into fully managed services. There should be no job losses and "the initial reaction from Jaguar employees and C&W has been enthusiastic", he said. Hewitt added that customer reaction was also good and he does not expect to lose accounts.
Nigel Williams, marketing director of Voyager, said many networking integrators want a big organisation behind them. "There aren't many significant independents left. Those that are left are going after niche markets," he said.
Williams said Voyager turned over about £12m in its last financial year, and Hewitt said Jaguar reported just over £10m. Jaguar will be merged with the existing integration arm of C&W, which it bought from Anite Systems in 1998.
Keith Humphries, analyst at EuroLan research, said the City wants telecoms companies to demonstrate end-to-end networking capabilities, but network design and installation at customer sites are unlikely to become core businesses for them. "There are still 20 UK networking integrators with over £10m in sales who remain independent. Many of these will have an exit strategy which includes selling to the right bidder, whether this is a carrier, a services specialist or another integrator," he said.
Peter Sadler, product marketing manager at NTL, said if C&W successfully merges its resources with Jaguar's integration skills, the combination will be a differentiator. "This is about confidence, about how people are going to deploy networks," he said.
After overseeing the integration of Jaguar into C&W, Hewitt will leave IT to become the captain of a chartered yacht in the Caribbean and around the UK.
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