PGi Continues Expansion with Marketing Collaboration Acquisition

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PGi Continues Expansion with Marketing Collaboration Acquisition

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  November 10, 2014

PGi seems to be positioned at the intersection of exactly where communications is, and where it seems to be going. The Atlanta-based public company is already a leader in the collaboration space, an area in which it continues to expand it’s offerings, and is keenly interested in sales enablement, which has to do with getting the right information to the right place to reach the right buyers in an effort to drive higher conversion rates.

The 20-year-old company says it’s the largest pure-play collaboration provider, has a global presence in 25 countries, and serves 50,000 enterprise customers, including 75 percent of the Fortune 100. 

Lately, PGi has been on a tear – acquiring complementary companies and expanding its solution set at a rapid pace. That should position it well to move on the growing opportunity in collaboration applications, a market that IDC (News - Alert) expects to grow to $5.7 billion by 2018.

PGi in October announced the acquisition of Central Desktop Inc., which sells cloud-based team collaboration and project management solutions aimed at marketing teams. Central Desktop offers SocialBridge, which enables marketers to collaborate with others within the enterprise, as well as with outside partners such as advertising agencies, to formulate and approve marketing collateral. The platform provided by Pasadena, Calif.-based Central Desktop, which has an annul revenue run rate of about $9 million, is in use by more than half a million users worldwide. And PGi plans to take the solution global.

 “We’ve done five acquisition in the last 15 months, and we’re just getting going,” PGi’s Sean O’Brien, executive vice president of strategy and communications, told CUSTOMER magazine.

The company has a half-billion-dollar credit facility, he added, and it continues to seek acquisitions in the collaboration/UCaaS and managed video services arenas. O’Brien also talked about the opportunity to better connect CRM and marketing automation systems with sales enablement solutions, noting that Gartner (News - Alert) has said more than half of the IT spend in the next two years will be on marketing.

Another of PGi’s recent acquisitions was that of TalkPoint Holdings LLC, a webcasting software and services outfit it bought in September. The webcasting market is worth more than $500 million.

"With the acquisition of TalkPoint, PGi is doubling down on its strategy to deliver an array of high-quality business communications solutions that make it possible for users to engage at their desks, on their mobile devices or in conference rooms," said Steve Vonder Haar, senior analyst at Wainhouse (News - Alert) Research. "TalkPoint's impressive growth and strong go-to-market strategy have made it a success in the web event services market, and this deal helps PGi expand on its established position as a leading provider of one-to-many webcasting services."

PGi also recently brought ACT Teleconferencing, Copper Conferencing, and Powwownow into the fold.

ACT Teleconferencing was a global provider of conferencing solutions, which had a projected annual revenue run rate of about $45 million and which PGi bought in September of last year for about $44 million cash.

Powwownow, the name under which Via-Vox Ltd. did business, also recently came under the PGi umbrella. PGi purchased the company in December for $52.6 million. That deal positioned PGi as the second largest independent conferencing and collaboration provider in Europe.

"Powwownow's dominance in the SMB space in the U.K. makes it a valuable acquisition for PGi," Boland T. Jones, PGi founder, chairman and CEO, said at the time. "The acquisition reinforces our strategy of expanding PGi's customer base and identifying products that enhance our portfolio, while delivering meaningful revenue and earnings accretion that enable us to fund additional growth investments. Powwownow users will gain access to our award-winning web conferencing solutions, iMeet and GlobalMeet, to drive their businesses forward."

These new solutions will complement PGi’s existing portfolio, which as noted above includes iMeet and GlobalMeet. The iMeet solution is a very clean and easy-to-use service that enables teams to gather online for web conferences and desktop and document sharing. This tool is ideal for marketing and sales teams to gather for brainstorming sessions, said O’Brien, and it doesn’t require any special downloads or training to use. GlobalMeet is more of a standard web conferencing tool for gatherings focused on spreadsheet and slidesharing, he added.

“PGi is all about collaboration, and we mean business,” said O’Brien, adding that PGi believes that collaboration can drive sales. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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