Vendors who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones

That Avaya IPO has been rumbling on for a while, hasn't it? First tabled about 12 months ago, the plans were made official last June and it was thought, for a few minutes back in February, that it might happen in April. Well, it didn't, but thereis agood reason why. Even though it has not yet listed

That Avaya IPO has been rumbling on for a while, hasn't it? First tabled about 12 months ago, the plans were made official last June and it was thought, for a few minutes back in February, that it might happen in April.

Well, it didn't, but there is a good reason why. Even though it has not yet listed Avaya is still obliged to check in with the SEC, and its latest filing makes for pretty grim reading; in the three months to 31 March 2012, saw both sequential and year-on-year sales declines, and a net loss of $432m (£273m), up from $26m sequentially and $132m this time last year.

So you can begin to understand why Avaya is edging so nervously along the diving board; it's no Tom Daley.

Down the road at unified comms rival ShoreTel, the situation has apparently caused much mirth, and earlier this week senior product marketing manager Geoff Murase took to his blog to add his tuppence.

"With over $6bn in debt, it's no wonder that they [Avaya] have had to continually restructure their operations. In fact, Avaya has had a restructuring programme in fiscal 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012," he wrote. "We know all too well the risks to Avaya customers of having too much debt as evidenced by what happened to Nortel and Nortel customers." 

Building up a good head of steam Geoff went on to say that "Avaya's debt is rated B3 (junk, non-investment grade) by Moody's and B- (junk, non investment grade) by Standard & Poors. These debt ratings are actually lower than what Nortel debt was rated four months before Nortel declared bankruptcy.

"Whether or not Avaya will be able to go public depends on investor appetite. Those investors who do their homework may come to realise that they are not that hungry," he concluded.

For Avaya haters Geoff's blog makes fun reading, but wait just a minute there.

Has he looked at ShoreTel's numbers lately?

This was first published in May 2012

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