|Founded||Ottawa, Ontario (1973)|
|Headquarters||Kanata, Ontario, Canada|
Terry Matthews, Chairman
|Revenue||650 million (2011)|
Number of employees
Mitel Networks is a high-tech company providing unified communications solutions for business. The company previously produced TDM PBX systems and applications but after a change in ownership in 2001 now focuses almost entirely on Voice-over-IP (VoIP) products.
Mitel is headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, with offices, partners and resellers worldwide.
- IP-PBX systems and software
- Mobility and wireless solutions
- Conferencing and collaboration (voice/video/data) applications
- IP business telephones
- Contact center/call center applications
- Messaging and voicemail applications
- Enterprise management applications
- Mitel UC360 Collaboration Point
- Virtual solutions/Virtualized voice applications
Michael Cowpland and Terry Matthews founded Mitel in 1972 (officially on June 8, 1972). Conventionally, its name is regarded as a combination of the founders’ first names and their first product - MIke and TErry's Lawnmowers. Cowpland is quoted as stating that it stands for MIke and Terry's Electronics, whereas Matthews confirmed the lawnmower acronym during an interview on BBC Radio 4's "The Bottom Line" in May 2011. The pair originally intended to sell cordless electric lawn mowers. Their first shipment of three lawn mowers was lost in shipping, so they quickly adjusted to produce a telephony tone receiver product (a tone-to-pulse converter for central office use based on Cowpland's Ph.D. thesis). Cowpland has also stated that the lawnmowers were not suited to Canadian lawns.
Following the success of the tone receiver, the founders extended their interest in the telecommunications industry. Early on the pair realized the significance of the then new microprocessor and software technology to the design of telecom switches. In 1975, they introduced the SX200 PBX. The company grew at a rate of over 100% per year for several years. They reached the $100 million annual revenue mark by 1981.
In 1976, the company expanded into the semiconductor field with the acquisition of Siltex, a bankrupt ISO-CMOS foundry in Bromont, Quebec. This evolved into a semiconductor division that specialized in mixed signal and thick film hybrid devices.
The next major product was a large digital PBX called the SX2000. This was an early attempt to integrate the voice and data functions of office systems. It was conceived as moving beyond the PBX to become an Office Controller which would handle both voice and data applications within an organization.
In 1985, due to a financial crisis in the company, the board of directors created enough new shares to sell a controlling interest (51%) to British Telecom. British Telecom left the equipment business a few years later and sold its controlling interest in Mitel to an investment company called Schroder Ventures. Schroeder Ventures installed new management which revitalized the company.
In the meantime, Mitel continued to diversify its product line, introducing the successful SUPERSET line of phone terminals, the GX5000 Central Office, and the SMART-1 call controller, among others. Additionally Mitel developed and marketed a line of telecom-focussed semiconductor products.
In 2001, Mitel was split into two parts. The PBX division and the company name were sold to co-founder Matthews, who took it private. Matthews purchased 90% of the PBX division for $300 million Canadian with the original company retaining 10%. The PBX division then began a new chapter, under the name Mitel Networks, by developing a family of PBXs based on Internet standards for Voice over IP (VoIP).
The original company retained the semiconductor division. It was renamed Zarlink (Tsar of Links) Semiconductor to reflect its interest in networking.
The intellectual property of Mitel Networks was spun out in 2001 and placed in a company called Mitel Knowledge Corporation. This company evolved into MKC Networks which makes a family of SIP-based IP PBX systems.
An additional split took place in 2002 when the manufacturing arm was spun off out of Mitel Networks to become a contract manufacturer called BreconRidge. With these developments, the original Mitel Corporation was split into three companies: Zarlink (which though renamed is the original corporate entity), Mitel Networks, and BreconRidge.
On May 10, 2006, the new company announced its intention to launch an Initial public offering (IPO). No detailed information was released but the press indicated that the company hoped to raise $150 million.
In April 2007, Mitel announced an agreement with Inter-Tel to purchase that company. This purchase would amount to a merger of equals with the merged company being twice the size of the original Mitel. This acquisition was completed in August 2007. Management had announced that the companies will carry on under the name Mitel. As a result of the merger, Mitel withdrew from the IPO registration process.
Mitel Networks reverted to calling itself Mitel in product branding and marketing materials in 2004.
The separate company, known first as "Mitel Knowledge" and now as MKC Networks, was not a part of Mitel Networks, but was rather a company producing a product intended for sale through Mitel Networks. Both companies were and are ultimately controlled by Terry Matthews.
On April 22, 2010, Mitel became a public company, listed on Nasdaq with the symbol MITL, and its initial offering stood at $14 per share. Within a year, the stock price had dropped to $5.50 and was described by CNBC's Jim Cramer as one of the worst IPOs of the year. Cramer blamed excessively optimistic pricing, excessive debt and the fear that company insiders would sell, dropping the stock value.
During the company's Q1 conference call, Don Smith (CEO) announced his retirement from the company once the board of directors is able to find a suitable replacement. Smith said he would remain on the board after retirement.
In June 2013, Mitel announced the completion of acquisition of one of its key suppliers, prairieFyre Software Inc., a privately held global provider of contact center, business analytics, and workforce optimization software and services. The net cash cost to Mitel for the acquisition of prairieFyre is approximately $20 million. prairieFyre is an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that has supplied Mitel with its existing contact center solution.
In 2011 Mitel launched litigation against at least 2 Australian businesses for infringing on Mitel's trademark and the businesses for engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct under Australian consumer law. The first case against Melbourne telecommunications company Mytel was resolved, while the second case brought against a chain of mobile phone accessory and repair stores under the MyTel and HappyTel name was still waiting to be heard.
- "Mitel Q1 suggests Aastra merger on track". The Montreal Gazette. 2014-05-08. Retrieved 2014-08-12.
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- Catherine McLean (2006). "Mitel files for IPO, eyes expansion plan/". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2006-11-20.[dead link]
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- Johnathan Chen (July 1, 2011). "J.P. Morgan Lowering Price Target On Mitel Networks". Benzinga. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
- Jim Cramer (June 23, 2010). "A How-To Guide for a Successful GM IPO". CNBC. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
- "Mitel CEO Don Smith to leave post". 2010-09-03. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
- "Mitel Acquires Contact Center Supplier prairiefyre" (Press release). June 17, 2013. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
- "Mitel Networks buys Aastra Technologies in friendly takeover deal to create bigger high-tech player" (Press release). November 11, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
- "Canada's Mitel Networks to buy Mavenir Systems for $560 mln" (Press release). March 2, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
- "Mitel targets iPhone repairer trademark". ZDNet. 2011-12-02.