CDNetworks buys Panther Express

For many months now, CDN industry insiders have gossiped that Panther Express was in financial trouble. Panther was caught with the bad luck of mistiming the funding cycle, leaving them to try to raise capital at a point when the capital markets were essentially frozen. Moreover, a large percentage of their revenues were tied to no-commit or limited-commit contracts, and with CDN prices in free-fall for much of 2008, Panther was doubly screwed from the perspective of the money guys. As time wore on, the likelihood of an acquisition by either a rival CDN or a carrier wanting to get into the space became more and more likely — but the longer the potential acquirers could wait to pull the trigger, the more cheaply they could buy the accompany, especially since rumors of Panther’s financial difficulties were starting to scare off potential customers.

Enter CDNetworks, a global CDN based in South Korea, who in the last year has been aggressively trying to penetrate the North American market. CDNetworks acquired Panther Express yesterday, in a deal structured so that it merged its US and European-based operations with Panther. Panther’s CEO Steve Liddell (who has experience working with Asian-based companies through his past experience as president of Level 3’s Asia business) will lead the new entity.

Dan Rayburn has offered some numbers and claims the acquisition values Panther at about $5 million — which would be about one-quarter of its 2008 trailing revenues, and would leave me wondering how that compares to the book value of Panther’s deployed eqiupment.

I’ll simply say that, although I agree with Dan that this acquisition basically has zero impact on other players or on pricing in the market, I have a very different perspective on the acquisition itself, and carrier opinion of this space, and of the general market opportunity (especially in the context that CDN is much more than video), than Dan does. Gartner clients who want to talk about it, you’re welcome to schedule an inquiry with me.

(Sorry. I started to write a long and detailed analysis, and then realized that I was crossing the line on what Gartner views as acceptable analyst blogging, and what is full-fledged analysis that ought to be reserved for paying clients.)

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Posted on February 26, 2009, in Infrastructure and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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