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TA Associates Backs Aicent

TA Associates has made a “significant” investment in Aicent Inc., a provider of data network, messaging and roaming technology for telecom network operators, the firm announced Tuesday. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

TA Associates, a leading global growth private equity firm, today announced it has made a significant investment in Aicent, Inc., a leading provider of data network, messaging and roaming solutions to telecom network operators worldwide. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

With over 180 telecom operator customers in more than 120 countries, Aicent provides a platform for cross-border and cross-network data delivery solutions to mobile network operators serving more than three billion mobile users worldwide. Its services enable mobile phone users to easily download data and send and receive SMS (Short Message Service) or MMS (Multimedia Message Services) messages across different mobile networks globally. Aicent is headquartered in San Jose, California with R&D and support operations in Beijing, China.

Aicent’s client base includes nine of the world’s ten largest operators, with customers such as AT&T, Verizon, DoCoMo, Deutsche Telecom, Telefonica O2, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. The company has a strong foothold in the rapidly growing Asian markets, with over 90 percent operator coverage in Asia and 100 percent coverage in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

“We are delighted to partner with a company that has achieved such strong growth since its inception,” said Jason P. Werlin, a Senior Vice President at TA Associates. “Aicent launched one of the world’s first GRX networks in 2001, and has established itself as a global hub for mobile operators. The rise of the smartphone and the increasing demand for mobile broadband services has provided the right backdrop for Aicent to roll out a number of groundbreaking products.”

“The new partnership with TA Associates will help strengthen Aicent’s market position and allow us to continue to bring innovative solutions to our customers,” said Lynn Liu, Founder, President and CEO of Aicent. “TA has a proven track record when it comes to backing fast-growing profitable telecom businesses and importantly, as an investor, it has a truly global outlook.”

The markets served by Aicent are set to enjoy continued rapid growth. “The explosive growth in mobile data traffic will undoubtedly require mobile network operators to ramp up capacity,” said Hythem T. El-Nazer, a Principal at TA Associates. Mobile data traffic is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 92 percent between 2010 and 2015, according to the Cisco Virtual Networking Index. By 2015, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to account for the largest percentage of monthly mobile data usage.

“Aicent’s existing product range and exciting new services in development will mean that the company remains a key player in connecting mobile networks and their customers across the globe,” said Kurt R. Jaggers, a Managing Director at TA Associates.

TA Associates has more than four decades of investing experience, focusing on profitable growth companies. TA’s prior investments in the communications sector include AboveNet Communications, Aurora Networks, FreeWave Technologies, Idea Cellular, MetroPCS Communications, Micromax Informatics Limited, SBA Communications, TARGUSinfo, TEOCO and WIND Telecom S.p.A.

Goodwin Procter provided legal counsel to TA Associates. Morgan Keegan served as financial advisor and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati provided legal counsel to Aicent.

About Aicent, Inc.

Serving more than three billion mobile users around the world, Aicent, Inc. is a leading provider of data network services and solutions for global mobile operators. To enable interoperability between Aicent customers and other networks, Aicent operates one of the world’s largest GPRS and 3G network exchanges, connecting to over 180 operators, including nine of the world’s ten largest. Through extensive peering arrangements, the Aicent network reaches nearly all GPRS/3G operators around the world. The company also operates integrated mobile messaging services, including one of the world’s first and largest multimedia messaging exchanges, and offers other value-added services to help carriers maximize revenue opportunities. For more information, visit

About TA Associates

Founded in 1968, TA Associates is one of the largest and most experienced middle-market growth private equity firms. The firm has invested in over 400 companies globally and has raised more than $16 billion in capital. With offices in Boston, Menlo Park, London, Mumbai and Hong Kong, TA Associates leads buyouts and minority recapitalizations of profitable growth companies in the technology, financial services, business services, healthcare and consumer industries.