Astound Inc., a Toronto-based provider of
leading edge solutions for web conferencing and collaboration, faced
the daunting task of competing with bigger and better funded competitors,
such as WebEx. Astound retained us to help the company raise its
next round of funding and/or find a merger partner that would help
it leapfrog the competition. A key reason that Astound selected
us was because our standard process was tailored to cultivate a
range of strategic partnering options.
Our hallmark process paid off for Astound –
in spades. Our efforts resulted in a six-figure OEM partnership,
a $5 million strategic investment, and, ultimately, a company sale
to Genesys Conferencing. Genesys is a publicly traded French company
and the largest independent audio conferencing vendor in the world.
We led the effort to create the differentiated
positioning and messaging to highlight Astound’s assets in
the best and most appropriate light for prospective partners. We
then created a set of business plans, proposal documents, and marketing
presentations geared toward igniting partner interest. Concurrently,
we identified and prioritized a list of strategic partners and financial
sources, then approached each with our trademark one-to-one custom-tailored
We gained face-to-face meetings with nearly
20 companies and engaged in conference calls with several more.
Our first success came in the form of a $5 million strategic investment,
the largest since the company’s founding. Introductions to
other companies led to revenue-generating business partnerships,
with the most notable being a lucrative OEM deal with a synergistic
public company. This deal provided Astound with an up-front six-figure
cash infusion and provided a commitment for ongoing royalties.
The crowning event of our twelve-month Astound
engagement was the negotiation and closing of the company sale to
Genesys. Due to the magnitude of the transaction, the deal required
shareholder approval and also required us to draft a 100-page fairness
opinion, which we summarized in a well-received presentation to
Astound’s board of directors.
Importantly, all parties were extremely satisfied
with the transaction, a sentiment exemplified by the following management
quote from the Genesys press release announcing shareholder approval
of the deal:
“We are excited by our shareholders’
strong support as demonstrated by their vote to merge our businesses.
This is a significant step in creating a global powerhouse in the
conferencing industry, with unique geographical coverage and a strong
customer base. Further, with the acquisition of Astound, the Group’s
technological leadership will be enhanced within the fast growing
Internet segment of our industry.”
Clearly, this was an industry-shaping transaction
as it combines the world’s largest independent audio conferencing
company with the leading technology in web conferencing and collaboration.
The deal value at announcement was approximately