​Logitech and Plantronics talks are all about scale as smart office market heats up

A pairing of Logitech and Plantronics would make sense since larger technology vendors enter the smart office and collaboration space.

Logitech unveils modular video conferencing system

Logitech's talks to buy Plantronics are about conquering that last mile of collaboration and the smart office as much larger competitors enter the market.

In a statement, Logitech confirmed that it was in talks to buy Plantronics, but said discussions ended without a deal. According to Reuters, Logitech was planning to acquire Plantronics for $2.2 billion. The move would combine Logitech's accessories and collaboration platform with Plantronics, which makes hardware that's used for everything from conference calls to huddle rooms. Logitech's market cap is about $5.34 billion and Plantronics is worth $2.02 billion based closing prices Friday.

Logitech said:

In response to media reports and in accordance with Swiss disclosure requirements, Logitech today confirmed it was engaged in discussions with Plantronics regarding a potential transaction. However, those discussions were terminated. Logitech does not intend to comment further.

Plantronics traditionally has specialized in headsets and unified communications gear, but acquired Polycom in an effort to move up the food chain. Plantronics closed the purchase of Polycom in July for an enterprise value of $2 billion.

The twist in this deal is that Logitech acquired Lifesize in 2009, which competed with Polycom, only to decide to spin it off in January 2016 to focus on cloud-based conferencing.

Polycom makes collaboration--video and audio--systems that compete with Logitech's video conferencing unit as well as Cisco and a bevy of other players. Logitech is best known for its consumer business, but has a suite of products aimed at the enterprise. The reality in the smart office market is that no one player has an integrated stack, but most competitors to Logitech and Plantronics have more scale and resources.

The 'smart office' of the future: 3 factors to watch

Why would Logitech want to roll up the collaboration space with Plantronics and Polycom? Scale. First, there are China tariff concerns and Logitech with Plantronics would have more manufacturing heft to negotiate and weather the U.S. vs. China trade war. But the bigger issue is that Logitech and Plantronics need to compete with a broader set of rivals, which have more scale. Consider the following smart office players.

Also: Amazon adds new productivity features to Alexa, Alexa for Business | Cheat sheet: Alexa for Business (TechRepublic) | Alexa's land-and-expand strategy is racking up the numbers | Alexa for Business now works with third-party devices | AWS advances Alexa for Business with a new room booking feature | Amazon's slew of new Echo, Alexa devices obscures new developer tools, features

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