Corning and SpiderCloud keep silence on possible acquisition

No news on possible tie-up, as Cisco-SpiderCloud end direct partnership.

SpiderCloud Wireless and Corning have both refused to comment on an article that claimed Corning is considering a purchase of the small cell provider.

Analyst Earl Lum, writing an “opinion” article for RCR Wireless, claimed to have heard that optical and fibre DAS provider Corning was readying a bid for SpiderCloud Wireless that valued it at about $200-250 million, or about 2-2.5x revenues. 

Lum said that the acquisition would give Corning an indoor cellular solution to add to its DAS product. The acquisition would mirror, in some ways, CommScope’s purchase of Airvana. Indoor small cells deployed in a mini C-RAN architecture (Airvana) or under the control of a controller node (SpiderCloud) address the mid market in terms of building size, Lum said.

TMN asked both Corning and SpiderCloud for comment. Corning said, “The RCRWireless News opinion on Corning posted Wednesday is based on speculation. It is Corning’s policy not to comment on speculation.”

SpiderCloud had a similar dead bat  at the ready: “Company policy is to not comment on M&A rumours.”

SpiderCloud Cisco USC 8000

The rumour regarding SpiderCloud was raised just as there was confirmation that the status of its partnership deal with Cisco had changed. Cisco and SpiderCloud have had a deal for two years for Cisco to sell SpiderCloud’s products under the Cisco brand – notably a small cell module that can be plugged into an existing WiFi access point. Cisco called this the Clip-On, such as in its Aironet 8000 series products – the USC 8718 and USC 8818.

However, that relationship has now changed, and Cisco will no longer be white labelling SpiderCloud products and selling them directly. Instead, SpiderCloud will sell its own branded product to end users, although it could still use a Cisco channel where appropriate. It has previously been noted that Cisco’s SpiderCloud portfolio competed directly with the Radio Dot System marketd by Cisco’s strategic partner Ericsson.

TMN understands from sources that although the technology aspect of the SpiderCloud-Cisco products worked out fine, and indeed helped Cisco win a business opportunity with AT&T for indoor deployments (a feather for SpiderCloud to add to its cap alongside its direct sales deal with Verizon), commercial terms turned out to be a brake on business – eroding SpiderCloud’s price advantage over DAS equivalents, something that therefore stalled its attractiveness to enterprise customers.

TMN understands that SpiderCloud’s opportunity for its E-RAN solutions to form AT&T’s indoor solution will go ahead but be restructured to reflect Cisco’s departure as OEM partner. That would see SpiderCloud as a preferred provider to both Verizon and AT&T for indoor enterprise solutions in the mid to large size of building. The size of those opportunities will, to some extent, be determined by the operators’ own commitment to directly provide indoor and in-building solutions. 

The Cisco-SpiderCloud rejig comes as it emerged that Cisco is end-of-lifing its Universal Small Cell solutions.