Changes in the Telecom World -

If you've tuned out the news, you might have missed these developments:

• In January, Mitel stunningly spun off its Communications Systems Division to Terry Matthews, the man that co-founded the company (and later Newbridge Networks). The deal, valued at $350 million (in cash, notes and equity) turns over Mitel's PBX and IP assets, including the IP-based Ipera line to Matthews' latest creation--March Networks Corporation. Mitel and March Networks will remain partners: The agreement, finalized this month, gives Mitel a 10% stake in March Networks; and it calls on Mitel, now a pure-play semiconductor company, to continue supplying IC components to the spun-off unit.

• NEC America formed a new company that consolidates switch manufacturer Nitsuko with NEC's Key Telephone Systems Group. The deal, which has NEC buying a majority stake in the new outfit, gives Tokyo-based NEC a combined 8 percent of the key and hybrid key/PBX market.

•Continuing its acquisition spree, PBX maker Inter-Tel swallowed up Executone's CPE business, including 100 distributors that will sell and maintain Executone's AXXENT systems. Inter-Tel also made an unsuccessful bid for Comdial.

•Speaking of Comdial, in December the outfit gave pink slips to 150-plus staffers, many of them employed by the PBX maker's manufacturing arm. The company intends to subcontract equipment manufacturing to focus on R&D and marketing.

• And, in December, Telecor acquired the Picazo VS1 server-based PBX from Intel's Dialogic division. The purchase boosts Telecor's line of vertical market-oriented voice/data solutions, including paging, conferencing, and IP products.

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