Lucent has bought UK networking firm SDX for #124 million, giving it an important channel into the European market.
Cisco was in talks to buy SDX (see PC Week, 19 May), as was Ericsson, but analysts believe both were outbid by Lucent.
"Lucent is an extremely aggressive player and although connected with one of the largest telecoms research and development labs in the world, Bell Labs, it is not frightened to acquire companies for their technology and capture the market fast rather than develop itself," explained Steven Young, telecoms analyst at Ovum. "All the major telecoms switch manufacturers are looking at the integration of the voice and data market and are racing to get products to market first."
Ron Griffiths, MD of Lucent UK, said: "We are successful at the high end of the call centre sector but not at the SME level. SDX's Index switch is predominantly aimed at this area of the market and closes this gap in our portfolio."
SDX designs, develops and distributes business telephone systems and is a recognised main UK player in voice, data and computer telephony integration products, like the Index platform.
"We also get SDX's valuable network of independent resellers and distributors, which is crucial to the deal," added Griffiths.
Jeremy Cooke, sales and marketing director at SDX, said: "This deal is brilliant news for us. We now have access to a base of engineering skills and excellence in the shape of Bell Labs and international markets that we previously had no channel into."
There will be some overlap on products, particularly at the high end.
The Index with 864 ports may well disappear, said Griffiths, as its strengths are in the sub-240 port region where Lucent is also strong.
SDX will continue to design and manufacture its products in the UK and these will not form part of Lucent's direct sales portfolio.
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