Deal: HP To Buy Video-Conferencing Tech Company Poly For $3.3B

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There’s a big new deal in the technology industry. Hewlett-Packard (HP) Inc (NYSE: HPQ), the well-known computer hardware maker, is buying Poly (NYSE: POLY), a company that makes video and audio conferencing hardware used primarily by enterprises.

  • HP will pay $40 in cash for each Poly share, amounting to $1.7bn. It’ll also assume the company’s debt load of $1.6bn, making the deal worth $3.3bn.

Poly was previously known as Plantronics before rebranding to its current name in 2019. The original Plantronics was formed in the 1960s to develop aviation headsets for pilots and air traffic controllers. The company expanded into other forms of wireless communication devices over the years, including consumer and gaming headsets.

In 2018, Plantronics acquired Polycom, a separate company specializing in enterprise video and audio conferencing hardware. Soon after, Plantronics abandoned its original consumer and gaming businesses to focus on the enterprise. It rebranded as Poly in 2018 to reflect its new focus.

  • Plantronics financed its $2bn Polycom acquisition mostly with debt. Subsequently, the combined company “Poly” failed to show significant growth to justify the highly-leveraged acquisition.

 

  • Poly’s stock has performed poorly in recent years as the heavy debt weighed down its financials, and HP’s offer depicts a saving grace for the company. Consider that HP is paying $1.7bn in cash to buy Poly, less than the $2bn the company paid to buy Polycom in 2018. Besides, HP’s offer was a 53% premium to Poly’s market value before the definitive acquisition agreement.

Buying Poly is a simple way for HP to step up its game in the video and audio conferencing hardware competition against the likes of Cisco and Logitech. The rise of remote work is driving up the demand for enterprise video and audio conferencing hardware around the globe, so HP is strategically right.

Interestingly, HP sold its former video-conferencing business to Polycom (for $89mn) back in 2011. Plantronics bought Polycom in 2018, rebranded as Poly a year later, and HP is buying Poly in 2022.

  • If all goes as planned, the deal will close before the end of this year.

 

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