Back in 2006, we witnessed more than two dozen significant announcements that involved major mergers and acquisitions in the machine-to-machine market. At the end of 2011, the market was heating up once again, with mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, spinoffs, and rebrandings kicking into gear. Among the group of announcements there were even a few shockers that took the M2M industry by surprise.
Based on what’s happened so far, I think we’ve only seen the beginning of what’s to come. The latest announcement was at the hand of network provider Verizon Wireless, which exercised its rights to purchase the remaining 50% of its joint venture partnership with Qualcomm, a wireless technology developer, which includes the people, platform, and legacy business of nPhase, an M2M infrastructure and service provider. While the details of the transaction have not been disclosed it’s believed the deal was a stock purchase; however, a Verizon spokesperson wouldn’t “confirm or deny.”
It’s far too soon to speculate what Verizon’s grand vision is with this move, or what it possibly means to the carrier’s strategic vision for M2M going forward, at this point it can only help the existing customers.
Looking back, I do remember sitting at the Smart Services Leadership Summit in July 2009 when the top big wigs of both Verizon Wireless and Qualcomm first announced the joint venture. The joint venture, which was officially spun out in August 2009, draws on the original Chicago-based company nPhase that was founded by Steve Pazol in January 2003. Prior to the 50/50 joint venture, Qualcomm acquired the original nPhase three years earlier in December 2006. At that time the company was focused on providing customized M2M solutions to meet the needs of OEM clients.
This is yet another chapter in the nPhase saga. While almost every nPhase employee will be receiving a Verizon Wireless paycheck from now own, Pazol will be hanging on to his role at Qualcomm, at least for the time being.
While he will help with the transition, Pazol has yet to write the next few chapters in his entrepreneurial quest. As you will recall in my blog M2M Platform Shakeups, I noted that Pazol was probably the smartest of all the services-platform players selling his company to Qualcomm just a few years earlier. Well, now look, he will probably be on a beach sipping a Mai Tai, if not fishing, very soon.