Verizon Wants to Sell Long Haul, Data Center Assets

Verizon Communications now is exploring a sale of its “global enterprise assets” built on the former MCI-Worldcom global network plus the data center business (Terremark).

Verizon Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said, during the company's third-quarter earnings call on Oct. 20, that it continues "to work through secular and economic challenges" with its global enterprise division, which posted a 4.9 percent decline in revenue in the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2015.

In many ways, that trend speaks to changes in the ways enterprises globally have changed “what” they buy in the connectivity arena, as well as “from whom.”

There is declining demand for legacy connectivity of every sort, and growing demand for IP connections and bandwidth. Need for data center support also is changing as cloud computing becomes mainstream and public computing resources from Amazon Web Services and others become viable options.

Verizon spent $8.4 billion to acquire MCI-Worldcom in 2006. Verizon bought Terremark Worldwide in 2011 for $1.4 billion. Altogether, that represented $9.8 billion in acquisition costs.

Some think the assets could be sold for $10 billion. Some estimate the assets produce about $2 billion in annual revenue, implying a sale price about five times annual revenue.

AT&T and CenturyLink also are trying to sell their data center businesses. One might therefore conclude that U.S. tier one service providers no longer believe ownership of data center assets provides as much business advantage as once believed.

Disruption of the legacy communications business continues.
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