Extreme completes Brocade acquisition, finishing a remarkable turnaround story


Extreme Networks today announced that it has completed the acquisition of Brocade’s data center switching, routing and analytics business, completing one of the most remarkable and unlikely turnaround stories in tech history.

In the technology industry, rising from the ashes is very rare. Once a vendor, no matter how big, starts to slide, it generally has a bad outcome. Consider all the giants in networking alone that went from 800-pound gorillas to a puff of smoke seemingly overnight. Names including Lucent, Nortel, 3Com, Cabletron, Marconi and Fore Systems, once seemingly mighty powers that could never be toppled, are now all gone. Some vendors have avoided that fate by going private to revamp the company without the pressure of meeting Wall Street expectations every quarter. Recent examples of this are Polycom, Riverbed, Dell and Solar Winds.

Extreme seemed to be heading down the path toward irrelevance if not demise. A few years ago, it replaced its CEO, CMO and chief revenue officer after a botched merger with Enterasys. The stock was trading at an all-time low, and it looked as if a new management team, led by CEO Ed Meyercord and chief marketing, development and product operations officer Norman Rice, had been brought in to find a buyer to make the best of an increasingly bad situation.

But something happened along the path to being just another failed networking company. Instead of closing shop, the company decided to go on a shopping spree and did it with lightning speed in a rather unorthodox way. Instead of going private or hiring a banker or any other outside resource, the company chose to open up a line of credit and do it itself.

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