Ring the consolidation bell this morning, as Calix announced their intention to acquire Occam Networks for $171 million in stock and cash. The transaction values Occam at $7.75 per outstanding share of Occam Networks stock. The two broadband access equipment suppliers have been fierce competitors and both are very active in the tier 2 and 3 service provider sector. Given today’s consolidation environment, the transaction is not surprising, but for industry observers it’s quite interesting to see these two competitors come together.

“By combining Occam Networks’ expertise in IP and Ethernet, Calix’s strength in fiber access, and both companies’ experience in copper access, we believe there is a clear opportunity to further enhance the Calix Unified Access portfolio, accelerate its future innovation, and enable greater broadband deployment by communications service providers globally. As a result of this acquisition, communications service providers can expect new innovations to the expanded Calix Unified Access portfolio that directly address the emerging needs of the broadband-connected consumer while also making these communications service providers more capitally and operationally efficient,” said Carl Russo, president and chief executive officer of Calix.

In a blog post, Occam Networks CEO Bob Howard-Anderson outlined the transaction and assured his customers that the Occam product portfolio will live on as a part of Calix’s Unified Access portfolio. “Calix intends to integrate the BLC6000, what we will call the “B-Series” platforms, into the Unified Access portfolio, allowing the B-Series to reside on the same Ethernet ring with C- and E-Series platforms,” the post states.

Both companies have been active in the broadband stimulus bonanza, scoring significant wins for stimulus funded projects. The combined company will be in a much better position to take on the likes of Adtran, ADC, and Alcatel-Lucent in the battle to provide broadband access gear to broadband carriers. By bulking up like this, the new combined company will probably make a push for ‘bigger fish’ both domestically and globally.

For Calix, this is their second major acquisition, with Optical Solutions from a few years ago being the other significant transaction. Calix has effectively absorbed the Optical Solutions product line and leveraged it to become a leading FTTP provider. Will they follow the same strategy with Occam, or is this Calix’s attempt to take out their most significant competitor?

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