By Corey Moss
First, according to Reuters*:
Plantronics Inc, a U.S. manufacturer of Bluetooth earpieces and gaming headsets, is exploring options that include a potential sale of the company after attracting takeover interest, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
A sale of Plantronics would come on the heels of the company’s $2 billion acquisition in July of U.S. video-conferencing equipment maker Polycom Inc. It would underscore the scope for consolidation in the sector, as telephony equipment becomes more commoditized and competition increases.
Plantronics declined to comment.
Plantronics shares were trading down 11 percent on Thursday before news broke of the company’s efforts to sell itself, as investors digested the company’s second-quarter earnings this week that missed analyst expectations.
The shares reversed course following the Reuters report and were trading up 6.3 percent at $62.89 in afternoon trading in New York on Thursday, giving the company a market capitalization of $2.5 billion.
Further exploration here**:
There is no certainty that Plantronics’ (sic) sale discussions will result in any deal, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential.
Plantronics declined to comment.
Second, some thought to go along with some of the speculation:
I have known and worked with Plantronics for quite some time – both in computer retail and commercial AV integration sales. I have worked closely with Polycom both in commercial AV integration and media for over twenty years now. I’ve met with them on the press/media side at Enterprise Connect, InfoComm and other events, including the SoundStation induction into the Smithsonian, and a private roundtable forum discussion with former CEO Mary McDowell. My dealings have always been professional, and straightforward.
At InfoComm 2018, this took place: A Booth Tour Experience with Polycom at InfoComm ‘18, written by Dayna Baumann (I was there at the booth with her). This was her very first InfoComm interview piece. I had talked with Polycom executives about Plantronics however nothing on the record. I have not had any in-depth discussions with Plantronics in terms of the acquisition, however I have had more recent discussions with Polycom, along with Plantronics product demos.
I wrote this story back in April 2018, Plantronics, Polycom and the News – When the Pieces Come Together, and it Makes Sense and for me it did make sense, as I began with a little backstory example from 2016:
I reported a story (for another publication) where the industry and certain of its other publications, podcasts and more went out with wild assertions about a particular story that “shook” the industry. I had already had early information on the story that I was privy to, though I sat on it until I knew the entire story, with a great measure of research to go with it – while watching the AV media Wild West unfold in front of me. For me it went all the way to the top echelon of this particular manufacturer, a noted major worldwide publication reporter (including a close watch of his Twitter site the morning he broke the story), and an overseas agency he had been working with. And no one else – I mean no one – was on the right track.
What I refer to is not unified communications related, it related to a story of wild conjecture, missed focus – and as I always say I like to wait for the dust to clear before I write. It happened with this Plantronics and Polycom story as well.
I also referred to a No Jitter article, written by a well-known UC analyst and journalist, which I referred to as the true informed detail and opinion on this story.
In the summer of 2017, Convergent AV (along with others) reported a feature story about Plantronics’ new Habitat Soundscaping technology, and soon afterward I interviewed Darcy Harrell, Channel Development Director, Innovation Waves at Plantronics on my ‘The Collaboration Factor’ podcast: Plantronics Habitat Soundscaping – A New Approach to Audio and Video Elements for Better Open Office Focus and Collaboration. It was a pleasure speaking with Darcy about Habitat Soundscaping, an intelligent acoustic management service that helps transform distracting open office spaces into peaceful environments, bringing natural elements into the workplace to create an immersive experience, where people will want to come to work, along with feeling energized.
Wait, not headsets? That’s right – Habitat Soundscaping.
Now, if you will – I do agree to a point that Plantronics’ acquisition of Polycom was a bit shocking. I had speculated about Polycom in terms of who the company might merge with or acquire, but never to be acquired. I do have certain speculation concerning other companies in UC in the same way, and some of that speculation has come to fruition (like one offshoot videoconferencing company returning to the major networking/UC/vidoeconferencing, etc. corporation from where it came). I watch UC closely, and where I talk about my speculation, I do not refer to conjecture. It’s informed, researched and I talk with as many in the know as possible. With Polycom, it’s been that kind of relationship for several years now. In fact, one of those at Polycom I expressed my thoughts directly about the acquisition. The good, and the not so good.
Examine all of the latest that Plantronics has to offer, including the well-known Polycom Trio. Review Habitat Soundscaping to see if it’s the right solution for your clients’ office environment.
Follow informed journalists and the news (Reuters, CNBC and more) for proper reporting on the situation. I will look to have more next week – including a continued market watch.
*Nasdaq: Headset-maker Plantronics explores potential sale
** CNBC Business News: Headset-maker Plantronics explores potential sale: Sources
With over 20 years in audio visual integration and IT/computer sales and consulting, Corey Moss is the owner of Convergent AV. Corey writes for the publication and hosts/produces podcasts – The AV Life, Convergent Tech Talk, AV Talk+ and Convergent Week. He has written for numerous industry publications about AV, IT, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), cloud and software, IoT, cybersecurity and more. He has also conducted interviews with AV and IT executives and global influencers. Find him talking about a whole lot of things, tech and otherwise. On LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/mosscorey/.