AireSpace in Stratosphere

The ongoing shakeout in the WLAN Switch market place seems to be having little or no impact on AireSpace, a San Jose-based wireless LAN switch maker. Word from down in Silicon Valley is that the company has snagged a major contract win at Microsoft. I don’t have the specifics of the deal right now, but will chase them down over next 24 hours. I need to recover my voice and some energy so to speak. Expect companies to announce soon!

Nevertheless, it is still a big win for a company which is competing with a lot of upstarts, and giants including Cisco Systems. My sources are telling me that the company is doing so well that it could be headed for an initial public offering soon, even though an outright sale is not out of the question. AireSpace backers include Storm Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Battery Ventures and Fidelity Ventures. Any sale which should elicit atleast three-times next 12 month sales, and that is a pretty healthy rate of return for investors who have pumped in around $58 million in the company, with $20 million coming in a mezzanine round this past July.

So who could be the prospective buyers? Cisco for one, given that it needs something to make a serious impact in the enterprise WLAN space. C/Net has a good piece on this. Juniper Networks might have an interest in the company. These might be long shots, since AireSpace has vendor partnership with Nortel Networks. Sources say that IBM could be interested in acquiring a WLAN switch company as well, but might actually go for an alliance with AireSpace.

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