M&A Surprise: Verizon to Buy EdgeCast?

December 9th, 2013 by · 1 Comment

That's the word according to TechCrunch over the weekend, although no official announcement is out there as of yet [EDIT: it's official now]. But if they're right, Verizon will be shelling out more than $350M to acquire EdgeCast and move much deeper into the CDN world than it has thus far.

Like many other large carriers did a few years ago, Verizon tested the CDN waters and decided they were interesting but not worth diving all the way into. In particular they worked with Velocix with an eye not toward challenging Akamai but rather toward managing quality and scalability in their local/metro networks. Velocix of course later became part of Alcatel-Lucent, and we've never really heard much on that front since.

But EdgeCast is a whole different kettle of fish, a credible challenger to the dominance of Akamai that has focused on working with carriers around the world with various levels of licensing and a CDN federation.   Their technology has helped out the CDN efforts of Teliasonera, Pacnet, Telus, AAPT, and DT amongst others. And they also supposedly have had an unannounced relationship with AT&T.

Just how a Verizon-owned EdgeCast might approach the carrier CDN market and federation is an open question. Oh, I'm sure they'll support those existing relationships and all that, but the focus will surely evolve and it won't be toward further enabling Verizon's competitors.  Everything Verizon does these days has to be seen in light of this past summer's mega-deal to buy out its partner Vodafone for full ownership of Verizon Wireless. EdgeCast's technology will surely be directed even moreso to the mobile experience.

But on the other hand Verizon surely could have bought LimeLight if it were just looking for a scaled CDN infrastructure and the cloud-based managed services to go with it, and it would be cheaper than this too.  Hence, Verizon must have some interest in EdgeCast's global relationships and its greater wholesale focus when it comes to licensing etc.

Another thought here is that removing EdgeCast as an independent force could prompt other inorganic moves by large carriers in the CDN space, something that has happened only piecemeal over the years despite all the rumors.

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Categories: Content Distribution · ILECs, PTTs · Mergers and Acquisitions

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