B. Riley Financial Inc. (Nasdaq: RILY) has agreed to purchase magicJack VocalTec Ltd. (Nasdaq: CALL), a distributor of voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) technology, for approximately $143 million in cash and debt.
magicJack is a cloud communications company that allows customers to make and receive phone calls using Internet broadband access. The Netanya, Israel-based target distributes magicJack devices sold by more than 25,000 retail stores. As part of the deal, magicJack will be held by the buyer’s subsidiary B. Riley Principal Investments LLC, the entity that currently owns a complementary telecommunications business called United Online Inc. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2018.
Founded in 1997, B. Riley is a publicly traded broker dealer and financial services firm that provides capital and financial advisory needs. The deal for magicJack comes after the firm acquired investment bank FBR & Co. (Nasdaq: FBRC) in February. In 2015, B. Riley also bought MK Capital Advisors to establish a wealth management group.
"With magicJack, we look to replicate the success we've had with our United Online acquisition by again leveraging our operational expertise to generate significant cash flows,” states B. Riley Principal Investments CEO Kenny Young. “The synergistic potential, combined with magicJack's subscriber base and brand name, make this an attractive investment opportunity."
Technology companies have become coveted targets and a driving force for overall M&A, especially as the demand for streaming and mobile capabilities is shifting how millennials access content. Related tech deals include: Windstream Holdings Inc.’s buying Internet-based telephone service provider Broadview Networks Holdings Inc.; Tessera Holding Corp.’s (Nasdaq: TSRA) purchase of smart phone app developer All In Media; and Qualcomm Inc.’s (Nasdaq: QCOM) $47 billion agreement to purchase NXP Semiconductors NV (Nasdaq: NXPI) to expand beyond the smartphone market.
B. Riley FBR Inc. is serving as financial adviser to B. Riley, while Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP and Gross Kleinhendler Hodak Halevy Greenberg & Co. are acting as legal counsel. Bryan Cave LLP, Wiley Rein LLP and Yigal Arnon & Co. are serving as legal counsel to magicJack, while Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) Merrill Lynch is serving as financial adviser.