Comverse buys VOIP company Netcentrex for $164 million

Comverse Technology Inc. has signed an agreement for its Comverse Inc. subsidy to acquire privately held VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) software vendor Netcentrex SA for about US$164 million, Comverse announced Monday.

Comverse could pay up to an additional $16 million, depending on the financial performance of Netcentrex during fiscal years 2006 and 2007, Comverse said.

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2005, Netcentrex, based in Paris, generated revenue of about $50 million. The acquisition, expected to close by July 1, shouldn't affect Comverse's pro forma net income for 2006, Comverse said in a news release.

Executives at Comverse, a provider of software and systems enabling network-based multimedia communication and billing services, said they were interested in Netcentrex's network-based software that enables IP-based voice-video-data and fixed-mobile convergence. The acquisition should benefit companies looking to develop multimedia services over VOIP and IP multimedia subsystem domains, Comverse officials said in a news release.

Those technologies are "poised to grow in the coming years," Kobi Alexander, chairman and chief executive officer of Comverse Technology, said in a statement. Comverse Technology is based in New York City.

Netcentrex has about 50 service providers as its customers, including AOL Germany, Fastweb, France Telecom and Telefonica Deutschland GmbH. Comverse's Total Communication product line includes messaging, personalized data and content-based services, as well as real-time converged billing. More than 450 communication and content service providers in more than 120 countries use Comverse products, the company said.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory and Netcentrex shareholder approval.

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