Competitive service provider XO Holdings (news, filings) is adding cloud-based virtualization, content acceleration, and interactive contact center solutions for the enterprise under its Concentric brand. Their new Concentric Cloud Solutions portfolio is built off their own asset base plus technology from Limelight, LiveOps, and VCE.
XO has always had the assets to make the same sort of cloud-based enterprise play that others in the sector like Windstream and Earthlink are making, and this isn’t their first step down that road either. They have a data center footprint, a metro fiber and central office presence, and an existing enterprise presence with which to start. Last February they repackaged their hosted PBX and related VoIP products into a cloud communications offering, and Concentric has been dabbling in the cloud since 2008.
The Icahn soap opera slowed XO down for a long time before he finally squeezed out minority shareholders. There’s no telling what the three quarters of reorganization since then have really wrought at this point other than pain for those affected. Are they ready for a new push into cloud-based managed services? Hopefully so, as it is probably the best path forward other than consolidation.
Yet does still seem likely to me that Icahn will sell the company, as a move deeper into the cloud doesn’t change much. Generally, the things you do to make a company more valuable to a buyer are the same as the ones that you do to make it more valuable to your own shareholders. Of course, he might not sell it to another operator, but to private equity that actually knows how to run this sort of business and is willing to fund its transformation.