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New Acquisitions by Braze, Kore Wireless, Cyara, and Dentsu; Avaya is Restructured

Companies Acquired Include North Star, Twilio’s IoT Business, Spearline, and Shift 7 Digital

CX mergers and acquisitions

Braze to Acquire North Star, Exclusive Reseller in Australia and New Zealand

Braze, the New York City-based provider of a customer engagement platform used by enterprises for multichannel marketing, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire North Star, its exclusive reseller in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ). Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed, but the acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2024.

A Braze reseller since 2016, North Star provides sales, onboarding, and customer success operations in the ANZ market for more than 130 brands, including graphic design platform Canva and fast-food purveyor KFC Australia. The transaction will provide Braze with a direct market presence in the region, along with local market expertise from the North Star team. Lewis Barnes and Christopher Fennell, co-founders of North Star, will serve as senior director of customer success and area vice president, respectively, for ANZ at Braze.

Bill Magnuson, co-founder and CEO of Braze, says combining the go-to-market operations of the two companies will drive greater efficiency and enhance their presence as a single entity in the ANZ market.

Kore Wireless to Acquire the IoT Business of Twilio

Internet of things (IoT) systems specialist Kore Wireless has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the IoT business unit of Twilio as part of a growth strategy to provide customers with a unified, seamless approach to launching IoT solutions.

As consideration for the acquisition, Twilio will receive 10 million shares of Kore common stock, which will represent approximately 11.5% of Kore’s issued and outstanding shares. San Francisco-based Twilio is the provider of a cloud communication platform as a service (CPaaS) that helps software developers create CX via the building blocks of an application programming interface (API).

Related Article: Twilio is Voluntarily Delisting from Long-Term Stock Exchange

The acquisition will bring to market a connectivity suite, including best-in-class technologies for eSIM, an industry-standard digital SIM that allows activation of a cellular plan from a carrier without having to use a physical SIM. The deal will also create a one-stop shop for building, deploying, managing, and scaling IoT operations via top-shelf technologies and facilities.

“IoT has immense potential to change the world,” says Romil Bahl, Kore president and CEO.  “Whether it is ushering in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, supporting chronic disease management through remote patient monitoring, or optimizing agriculture and supporting sustainability, IoT has many powerful applications.” Combining Twilio’s IoT business with Kore’s portfolio will not only help to proliferate IoT but also make it more accessible and successful, Bahl adds. 

Cyara Acquires Irish Firm Spearline to Deliver Comprehensive CX Assurance Solution

CX assurance creator Cyara is acquiring Irish communications testing company Spearline for an undisclosed amount as part of an innovation strategy to address rapidly developing market trends. The deal pairs the contact center and chatbot capabilities of Cyara with those of Spearline in global dialing and WebRTC, to deliver a remote workforce solution that can be used by enterprises to transform their CX.

Cyara helps organizations achieve smooth CX through the automated testing and monitoring of contact centers and unified communications platforms, simulating real-world customer interactions across interactive voice response (IVR), voice, and digital channels. The Redwood City, California-based company is the creator of CX assurance, which involves measuring and detecting CX flaws from a customer’s perspective throughout the development process.

For its part, Spearline provides mobile and landline dialing assurance as well as WebRTC testing solutions that enable the monitoring of voice and video delivered through Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) platforms, such as those used by Amazon Connect, NICE CXone, Genesys Cloud, RingCentral, and Zoom.

With the acquisition, Cyara will have a comprehensive set of CX assurance tools encompassing capabilities for voice, digital, SMS, AI chatbots, video, and WebRTC.

“To support a remote workforce, organizations are moving their communications platforms to the cloud,” remarks Alok Kulkarni, CEO of Cyara. “While this eliminates the complexity of managing the hardware, there is new complexity in testing advanced features that come with these platforms, like AI, video, and omnichannel. Cyara offers the only CX assurance platform that can address the complexity of these modern communications systems today, and in the future.”

Dentsu Group Acquires Shift7 Digital to be Part of Merkle

Japanese advertising and PR firm Dentsu Group has acquired Shift7 Digital, the New York City-based provider of web content management and systems integration services to its business-to-business (B2B) partners in manufacturing and distribution. Shift7 will become a subsidiary of Merkle, the Maryland CXM firm acquired by Dentsu in 2016 that is now a crucial component of the Dentsu empire.

Founded in 2002, Shift7 helps its partners optimize marketing and sales operations by improving online CX. The agency received financial backing in late 2021 from Salesforce Ventures, the venture capital and private equity arm of Salesforce, and is currently a Salesforce Crest Partner, ‘Crest’ being the third of four tiers that Salesforce has implemented into its consultant partnership program.

Shift 7 will be incorporated into Merkle’s experience and commerce arm, a global team of more than 2,500 experts across CX, technology, commerce, digital messaging, loyalty, and promotions in the Americas that was launched late last year.

Financial details of the transaction are not known, but the announcement of the acquisition arrives at a commercially transformative period, as a growing number of retail brands continue to transition into the digital realm. The acquisition of Shift7 demonstrates Merkle’s commitment toward enabling B2B brands to deliver best-in-class, differentiated, and connected experiences across the entire customer journey, while also adding strength, scale, and specialty to Merkle, company officials say.

Avaya to Emerge from Bankruptcy with Greater Financial Strength

Communications and collaboration solutions provider Avaya completed the last major step in its financial restructuring, after securing confirmation of the company’s prepackaged reorganization from the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Related Article: Avaya Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Avaya will emerge from the restructuring process with strengthened finances and its total debt reduced by more than 75%, increasing its liquidity position to in excess of $650 million and decreasing its net leverage to less than 1x. The comprehensive balance sheet de-leveraging will provide substantial financial flexibility to accelerate Avaya’s investment in the company’s cloud-based communications portfolio, especially across its CX offerings, and position Avaya for long-term success, according to an official statement from the firm.

Avaya CEO Alan Masarek says he is pleased with the company’s progress. “The resounding support for our restructuring plan is a testament to the significant value our investors see in our business and the solutions we provide, and we look forward to capitalizing on the opportunities ahead,” Masarek declares.

Upon emergence, Avaya will be a private company backed by its existing lenders, including the institutional investment firms Apollo Global Management and Brigade Capital Management, each of which has invested significant incremental capital as part of Avaya’s restructuring.

Author Information

Alex is responsible for writing about trends and changes that are impacting the customer experience market. He had served as Principal Editor at Village Intelligence, a Los Angeles-based consultancy on technology impacting healthcare and healthcare-related industries. Alex was also Associate Director for Content Management at Omdia and Informa Tech, where he produced white papers, executive summaries, market insights, blogs, and other key content assets. His areas of coverage spanned the sectors grouped under the technology vertical, including semiconductors, smart technologies, enterprise & IT, media, displays, mobile, power, healthcare, China research, industrial and IoT, automotive, and transformative technologies.

At IHS Markit, he was Managing Editor of the company’s flagship IHS Quarterly, covering aerospace & defense, economics & country risk, chemicals, oil & gas, and other IHS verticals. He was Principal Editor of analyst output at iSuppli Corp. and Managing Editor of Market Watch, a fortnightly newsletter highlighting significant analyst report findings for pitching to the media. He started his career in writing as an Editor-Reporter for The Associated Press.


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