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ACN Inc.'s Owners Acquire VoIP Provider deltathree for $1.17 Million

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February 12, 2009

ACN Inc.'s Owners Acquire VoIP Provider deltathree for $1.17 Million

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor

Following weeks of speculation, a private investment fund with holdings in the telecommunications industry today acquired a Manhattan-based developer of VoIP software solutions for $1.17 million, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Officials with D4 Holdings LLC – which owns ACN, Inc., an international direct seller of telecom services – announced that they acquired 54 percent of deltathree Inc., including 39 million shares, to add the company’s integrated VoIP telephony services, hosted solutions and infrastructure to its own products.
“We are delighted to welcome deltathree (News - Alert) into our strategic portfolio, and look forward to realizing the synergies that are so immediately apparent between deltathree and our other entities,” said D4 Holdings’ Robert Stevanovski, ACN’s co-founder and chairman, now a board member at deltathree, according to an Investor Rights Agreement, published today.
The fate of deltathree’s portfolio of patents, products and services is unclear – for example, it isn't clear just what ACN will do with deltathree’s VoIP service “Joip,” which supports Panasonic’s so-called “GLOBARANGE” hybrid phones, pictured right.

According to an official with an external investor relations agency who is familiar with the deal, the company’s Joip service is not a major part of deltathree’s business, though it produced some very useful technology.  

The company will not disclose its customer count, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as someone who isn’t a designated deltathree spokesperson. However, there will be “basically no change to delathree’s customers,” the official told TMCnet during an interview.
“The deal was announced today and everyone is still be serviced by their deltathree representatives and deltathree technology base,” the official told TMCnet.
Asked what the deal may portend for pure-play VoIP providers, the official said, “As you know, it’s difficult for pure-play VoIP right now, so this is a good partner strategy with a good investor.”
“The bottom line of the transaction is that it allows deltathree to deliver more solutions to more customers worldwide and it brings new cash infusion with a new investor,” the official said.
The company’s VoIP-related assets appear to be an increasingly valuable commodity as the cost-saving communications technology gains traction in this slower economy. As TMC President Rich Tehrani (News - Alert) writes here, on the heels of a 15 percent uptick in attendance at VoIP’s premier event, the Internet Telephony Conference & Expo, the industry’s future is bright.
In a statement issued here, deltathree’s chief executive officer and president, Effi Baruch, said the deal aligns his company with “a key strategic investor whose owners have extensive expertise and reach in the global telecommunications sector and provides the company with an immediate capital infusion.”
“We see tremendous opportunities to match deltathree’s comprehensive portfolio of global VoIP offerings and solutions with the international marketing and distribution capabilities available to D4 Holdings, including ACN, Inc.,” Baruch said. “On behalf of the deltathree team, I look forward to collaborating closely with the D4 Holdings team as we look to leverage together the opportunities we see for delivering high quality, next generation VoIP solutions to customers worldwide.”
Under the deal, deltathree issued D4 Holdings a warrant, exercisable for 10 years, to purchase 30 million more shares of its stock. In addition to Stevanovski, ACN board member Anthony Cassara – president of a privately held telecom consultancy – also will serve on the deltathree board. D4 can nominate a third member to the board, according to SEC (News - Alert) filings.

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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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