Pébereau expands Tofane by adding IoT business to iBasis
Alexandre Pébereau’s Tofane Global has expanded its iBasis operation by buying an internet of things (IoT) company for an undisclosed price.
The new acquisition is Simfony, based just outside Amsterdam, a business Pébereau described as a platform-as-a-service provider and mobile virtual network enabler.
“Simfony is one of our customers and it has been developing platforms for some of our customers,” Pébereau told Capacity in an interview ahead of the formal announcement this morning. “We started our partnership in 2017-18. Their platform is unique.”
The company has “a successful team of entrepreneurs”, based in the Netherlands and Romania, he added.
iBasis already has an IoT business and the new move “is leveraging our innovation and the financial drive since iBasis became independent”.
It’s three years this month since Tofane Global bought KPN’s wholesale operation, iBasis, also for an undisclosed amount. The deal followed others as Pébereau built up the Tofane business with a series of deals, including the international voice carrier business formerly belonging to Altice Europe in France, Portugal and the Dominican Republic.
Pébereau, who was CEO of Orange International Carriers until 2016, announced the two planned acquisitions within days of each other in March 2018, first the whole of iBasis, KPN’s wholesale arm, and then the international wholesale activities of Altice Europe.
iBasis said that the Simfony acquisition complements its IoT portfolio “by adding a business management layer to its global connectivity offering, thus creating a one-stop shop for its customers”.
This creates what it calls “a fully-featured IoT connectivity management platform for their remotely programmable SIMs (eSIMs), from online ordering, provisioning, product catalogue, device lifecycle control, trouble ticketing, online rating, and billing, to account profitability”.
Pébereau told Capacity that the original strategy for the series of deals was a 50-50 split between voice and new services such as IoT. “Because of the pandemic and the disappearance of international travel” the market had not developed as anticipated, he said. “But now we are more and more confident of the 50-50 split”, following the Simfony deal.
“It is a very important acquisition,” he said. “It doesn’t change our balance sheet.” But he couldn’t provide financial details. “This is a private company,” he said.
The expanded iBasis group will keep the whole Simfony team of about 30, of whom around 20 are in Romania.
Simfony “has been very successful with customers”, though the company is “not so well known” among mobile network operators, said Pébereau. “They couldn’t grow as quickly as they wanted.”
iBasis won a contest for Simfony, he said, but it was not an auction. “We weren’t the only ones wanting to buy them. Very quickly both parties realised we could create more value.”
Now, iBasis wants “to get to critical size quickly”, he said, “integrating the companies and upscaling the Simfony platform and delivering the growth for our customers and prospects”.
The Simfony name will be retained as the name of the product in iBasis’s portfolio, he said. The Tofane Global group has a total of 300 people, he added.