When Broadcom announced in November 2016 that it was buying Brocade for $5.9 billion, it was complicated right from the get-go. Broadcom immediately said it would divest Brocade’s IP networking business and its Ruckus Wireless assets. That seemed weird considering Brocade had only recently purchased Ruckus Wireless.
It got even weirder when Brocade started to sell off its IP networking assets in bits and pieces. Finally, the messy sale of Brocade almost fell apart in October because a U.S. government agency didn’t like the fact that Broadcom was a Singapore company. Then in November Broadcom announced that it was relocating its headquarters to California, and shortly thereafter the deal closed.
Keeping track of it all kept us busy at SDxCentral. Here’s a final break-down to close out 2017.
After Broadcom said it planned to divest Brocade’s IP networking business and its Ruckus Wireless assets, rumors circulated that the cable-equipment vendor Arris might buy these.
Those rumors turned out to be at least partially true. In February, Arris announced that it would buy the Ruckus Wireless and ICX Switch businesses from Brocade for $800 million in cash. Ruckus COO Dan Rabinovitsj would lead the business as a separate unit within Arris. He would be joined by an additional 1,600 Ruckus employees.
In March, Extreme Networks announced it was buying Brocade’s data center networking assets for $55 million in cash. Extreme planned to close on the Brocade assets within 60 days following Broadcom’s acquisition of that company. Extreme’s deal included Brocade’s data center switching, routing, and analytics business.
Extreme said it expected the Brocade acquisition to generate over $230 million in annual revenue, and that the Brocade assets would also expand its relationship with Broadcom. “We already have our 200 Series of value-oriented switches leveraging Broadcom’s FASTPATH operating system software, and this transaction will only broaden our strategic partnership,” said Extreme Networks President and CEO Ed Meyercord.
It wasn’t just other vendors picking through Brocade’s assets. In June, AT&T proclaimed it was buying Brocade’s Vyatta assets, including the Vyatta vRouter. And AT&T also said it was going to hire certain Brocade employees associated with that business who are mostly located in California and the United Kingdom. AT&T’s deal called for the transaction to close in early summer, prior to the closing of Broadcom’s purchase of Brocade. And that did, in fact, happen.
Also in June, Pulse Secure said it would buy Brocade’s virtual application delivery controller (vADC) assets for an undisclosed amount. Pulse Secure makes security products for access control, VPN, and devices. The company said that the combination of Pulse’s unified client, Policy Secure, combined with the vADC, would be a key development in the Internet of Things (IoT).
The vADC deal, which included a leased R&D facility in Cambridge, U.K., as well as associated customer support and maintenance contracts, closed in August.
In July, Mavenir Systems — a company dedicated to creating a software-based RAN — purchased Brocade’s virtual evolved packet core (vEPC) product line, including the company’s research and development facility in Mumbai, India. Mavenir also hired certain Brocade employees associated with the vEPC business and will support existing Brocade vEPC customers. Mavenir wanted the vEPC products as part of its multi-access edge computing (MEC) and IoT strategy.
As a side note, both Mavenir and Pulse Secure are owned by Siris Capital.
Andrew Coward, the former VP of strategy at Brocade, created a new company, Lumina Networks, built with the software-defined networking (SDN) controller assets from Brocade. Lumina Networks launched in August with Coward as CEO. The company is headquartered in San Jose, California, with offices in the U.K., India, and Australia. Its controller, which is based on OpenDaylight (ODL), is named the Lumina SDN Controller.
With its purchase, Lumina got all the former Brocade customers that were already using the controller, which totaled about 200 customers.
Delays to Broadcom Deal
While Brocade was busy selling off parts of its business, the deal with Broadcom hit a snag in July. The Federal Trade Commission became concerned that once Broadcom owned Brocade’s fibre channel switches, it would essentially have a monopoly on the market that provides the ASICS for those types of switches. Broadcom supplies Cisco with ASICs for its fibre channel switches. And it would soon own Brocade’s fibre channel switch assets for which it supplies ASICs. The FTC was concerned that Broadcom would use its massive market share to “substantially lessen competition,” or “by increasing the likelihood of coordinated interaction between the two competitors.”
To try and thwart any antitrust activity, the FTC created some requirements and didn’t give its stamp of approval to the deal until August.
But a bigger problem arose in October after a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Reportedly, that CFIUS was concerned about national security related to investments by Chinese companies. Broadcom was domiciled in Singapore and headquartered in San Jose, California.
In the midst of all this, Extreme Networks decided to complete its acquisition of Brocade’s data center switching, routing, and analytics business, without waiting for the Broadcom deal to close.
Broadcom’s Big Move
The drama all culminated in early November with an announcement from the Oval Office of the White House. President Donald Trump and Broadcom CEO Hock Tan said Broadcom would change the nationality of its corporate structure from Singapore to the U.S. This paved the way for Broadcom’s purchase of Brocade to close.
On Nov. 17, Broadcom finally completed its $5.9 billion acquisition of Brocade after more than a year of waiting for regulatory approval. Brocade now operates as an indirect subsidiary of Broadcom with Jack Rondoni, previously Brocade’s SVP of storage networking, serving as the general manager.
On Dec. 1, long-waiting Arris was able to complete its acquisition of the Ruckus Wireless and ICX Switch business from Broadcom.