Telecom & Wireless

Verizon Acquires Video Conferencing Firm Focused on Business Users

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) announced Thursday that its Business group has agreed to acquire enterprise-grade video conferencing and event platform BlueJeans Network. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Since most of the nation’s schools, colleges and businesses have been shut down in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, video conferencing has burst on the scene, primarily in the shape of Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZM). Zoom’s share price has more than doubled since its initial public offering last April, and the platform’s ease of use has made it popular among teachers and business people who need a way to communicate as lockdowns continue.

But Zoombombing (hacking into a chat room uninvited, often making racist or threatening comments) has prompted some schools and other users to ban the use of Zoom for video conferencing and meetings.

BlueJeans Network was founded in 2009 and has received $175 million in five venture funding rounds since then. New York Yankees Hall of Famer Derek Jeter’s venture fund is among the investors. Following its most recent funding round in 2015, BlueJeans was valued at around $725 million.

The company lists LinkedIn, ADP, Facebook, Intuit and Zillow among its customers. Unlike Zoom, BlueJeans is not free, but it does offer encrypted video, a step up from the free videos from products like Microsoft Teams and Skype, Google Hangouts, Houseparty and Apple’s Facetime, among others.

Verizon plans to integrate the BlueJeans product into its 5G product roadmap as a platform for secure and real-time engagement solutions for applications like telemedicine and distance learning, both of which have surged during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Tami Erwin, Verizon Business group CEO said:

As the way we work continues to change, it is absolutely critical for businesses and public sector customers to have access to a comprehensive suite of offerings that are enterprise ready, secure, frictionless and that integrate with existing tools. Collaboration and communications have become top of the agenda for businesses of all sizes and in all sectors in recent months.

Quentin Gallivan, CEO of BlueJeans Network, added:

The combination of BlueJeans’ world class enterprise video collaboration platform and trusted brand with Verizon Business’ next generation edge computing innovation will deliver highly differentiated and compelling solutions to our joint customers.

BlueJeans founders, key management and employees will join Verizon once the deal is closed.

Verizon stock traded up more than 2% in Thursday’s premarket but has then retreated after the open. Shares were last seen trading at $567.10, in a 52-week range of $48.84 to $62.22. The stock’s 12-month consensus price target is $60.00. Verizon is scheduled to report quarterly results on April 24. The company pays a dividend yield of 4.32%.