CommScope doesn't need to be coaxed into making cable. Through three key customer segments. the company makes coaxial, fiber-optic, and other cable products for data, voice, and video transmission including high-bandwidth cable that provides telephone, cable TV, and Internet access. Segments include Broadband and Wireless; in addition, its Enterprise operations make network infrastructure products including cabinets, antennas, software, and network design services. Customers include telecommunications service providers and OEMs, including Anixter, Alcatel-Lucent, and Comcast. Private equity powerhouse The Carlyle Group acquired CommScope in 2011 for $3.9 billion.
Facing intense competition from companies in China, India, and other developing countries, CommScope shopped itself to interested parties that would finance the company's turnaround. A takeover by The Carlyle Group, one of the world's largest private investment firms, gave CommScope deeper pockets and better positioned it to weather periods of reduced infrastructure spending on communications networks. As part of the acquisition, CommScope went private and simultaneously spurred a private placement of senior notes to raise $1.5 billion. The proceeds were used to pay expenses related to the deal with the Carlyle Group.
Leading up to the acquisition, the company faced industry competition, recognizing that it had a limited number of core customers, distributors, and suppliers. The company put itself at risk by relying on contract electronics manufacturers to make its products. These factors, compounded by the global recession and credit crisis, caused CommScope to spiral downward. The company responded by consolidating and reorganizing its operations in an effort to trim costs and regain its financial footing. It broke the company out into three new organizations across its existing segments for better global coverage of its commercial, supply, and technology areas.
Concomitant to the restructuring initiative, the company's Wireless division acquired Australia-based antenna company Argus Technologies in 2011. Along with its antenna offerings, Argus brought strong research and development capabilities, and it gave CommScope a greater global market presence through its offices in China, the UK, and the US. Its Wireless division also expanded its Suzhou, China, manufacturing and distribution center to serve local customers. The wireless telecommunications market is growing in this region and the company's Andrew brand is the only non-Chinese cable and antenna supplier that is approved by state-run China Telecom. To meet demand, Andrew has been continually expanding its manufacturing operations in all its China locations. – less