GTT Communications is buying North Carolina-based communication services provider Access Point for $40 million, of which $35 million is in cash and $5 million is in stock.
GTT has a relatively aggressive and specific acquisition strategy. It purchased three companies in the first six months of 2018. Every company it buys must add something strategically and must be able to be integrated within a set period of time, according to Gina Nomellini, GTT’s chief marketing officer. Typically, its acquisitions bolster the provider’s geographic capability or add a new client base. The set period of time for integration normally falls between two and three quarters.
With regard to Access Point, the acquisition will boost GTT’s presence in a number of verticals including retail, manufacturing, and energy. Access Point offers managed broadband, internet, and voice capabilities that compliment GTT’s own cloud networking services and can be easily integrated into its offerings.
In addition, the purchase will enhance Access Point’s existing services by backing them with GTT’s Tier 1 IP network. The GTT backbone is comprised of 550 points-of-presence (PoPs) across six continents. According to Nomellini, the IP network backbone provides “distinct advantages in terms of performance, latency, and carrying capacity for both our WAN services as well as our internet services.” GTT also backs its services with its transatlantic cable system and multi-national fiber network.
GTT was initially founded in 2006, and it grew its IP backbone, client base, and service offerings through both acquisitions and organic growth. “We’re growing like gangbusters,” said Nomellini. In May the company completed its largest acquisition to date, purchasing European fiber network and cloud networking operator Interoute for $2.3 billion.
According to Nomellini, this purchase made GTT a well-balanced company between the U.S. and Europe in terms of number of employees and networking assets. Interoute added 72,000 km of fiber to GTT’s network across Europe, along with a number of large clients. These clients included packing manufacturer Europac and Denmark cleaning supplier Nilfisk — both of which have since deployed GTT’s managed SD-WAN service.
Interoute also operated an SD-WAN platform that GTT is integrating with its own SD-WAN, which is based on VMware’s VeloCloud technology. “We are merging those capabilities [of Interoute’s SD-WAN], moving onto one platform to go to a universal CPE approach, complete with an integrated firewall,” said Nomellini. “So it will still be a VeloCloud-based offering. It will just be delivered with a little more capacity and scale as we move into the first quarter of next year.” She added this will give customers more customization and scalability as GTT grows the universal CPE offerings to include WAN optimization and other instances.
GTT’s current SD-WAN offering is unique, according to Nomellini, as it is integrated with its network. This approach “is far superior,” she said. “We take the traffic, we manage it from end-to-end, from local access to the long haul to the equipment all the way up to the application, giving the client a turnkey solution, and that gives visibility and performance.”
Nomellini also noted that GTT’s SD-WAN is its fastest growing product in terms of new business and that it was seeing “really large conversion in that space.”
However, as GTT continues to grow, both organically and through acquisitions such as Access Point and Interoute, she said that while other big telco incumbents are growing into software or transitioning to become an applications or mobile company, GTT will continue to build right where it’s at. “We know that we are quite good at cloud networking, and we want to be the best in it. We want to stay in our lane and continue to provide excellent service.”