Eatel acquires BR data center Venyu

Eatel has acquired Baton Rouge-based Venyu Solutions Inc., a national data center provider, in a move that will increase the services the Gonzales-based telecommunications company can offer to business clients.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Venyu will become a subsidiary of Eatel and maintain its headquarters in the Bon Carré Business Center on Florida Boulevard, along with its name, data center locations, senior management team and staff.

“This gives Eatel more opportunities to better serve customers in the regions in which we operate,” said John Scanlan, president and vice chairman of Eatel. “The portfolio of products both companies bring are complementary to one another.”

Now, about 40 percent of Eatel’s clientele are business customers. Eatel offers digital TV, Internet and phone service through its fiber network. With the acquisition, Scanlan said, businesses will make up about half of Eatel’s customers.

The deal positions Eatel to offer cloud-based business services, in which companies can access software and computer servers offsite without the need or expense for their own equipment; use the data center for storage of information; and hosting Web services for businesses.

Eatel, which had $135.6 million in revenue in 2012, has been reaching out to business clients in Baton Rouge. Being able to use Venyu’s brand will help with those efforts, Scanlan said. The Ascension Parish company also has a presence in Lafourche and Jefferson parishes through its 2011 acquisition of Vision Communications, a Lafourche-based telecommunications company.

Venyu’s roots go back to when it was known as the Network Technology Group. In 2002, it purchased the commercial data storage center at Bon CarrĂ©.

In 2007, Dallas-based PHNS bought Network Technology Group. Three years later, the management of Venyu raised more than $25 million from two investment firms to buy the business.

Scott Thompson, the founder and CEO of Venyu, said while the company’s past relationships with private equity firms were good, being owned by Eatel provides more job security for the company’s 75 employees, most of whom are based in Baton Rouge.

“For a data center company, the key is to have connectivity,” Thompson said. “Eatel brings that in a very big way. We’ll be able to increase our capabilities to our customers through their communications offerings.”

Thompson and Scanlan said they expect the number of Venyu employees will increase because of the acquisition.

Venyu has a number of high-profile clients who use its data storage, including Lamar Advertising, The Advocate, H&E Equipment and the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans.

Charlesmead Advisors served as the financial adviser to Eatel.

Scanlan and Thompson, who have known each other for 20 years, said the discussions of the sale started back in March.

“We went to lunch and I asked him where they were in the world,” Scanlan said.