Tekelec is expanding its move into Internet Protocol networking, acquiring Texas-based VocalData in a deal worth $27.5 million in cash and stock.

VocalData is a provider of hosted IP telephony applications, including so-called IP Centrex. The company, which has its headquarters in Richardson, TX, is responsible for 44 percent of the IP Centrex market, according to statistics from analyst firm Frost & Sullivan, which Tekelec cited in the acquisition announcement.

According to IP-Centrex.org, a web site focused on IP Centrex technology, Centrex is a set of specialized business solutions where the equipment providing the call control and service logic functions is owned and operated by the service provider and hence is located on the service provider’s premises. Since Centrex frees the customer from the costs and responsibilities of major equipment ownership, Centrex can be thought of as an outsourcing solution, the site says.

Adding VocalData technology will enable Tekelec (Nasdaq: TKLC) to offer “an immediate path to IP service delivery and profitability for wireless, wireline and cable operators,” Tekelec says.

Tekelec agreed to pay $14.5 million in cash and $13 million in common stock.

VocalData’s operations will become part of Tekelec’s Next-General Switching business unit.

“The acquisition uniquely positions Tekelec to address customers’ network-wide application requirements for today’s circuit-switched and tomorrow-s next-generation networks,” says Fred Lax, president and CEO of Tekelec. “Combining VocalData’s application server with our next-generation switching portfolio supports our commitment to offer solutions that enable service providers to deliver revenue-generating services today, allowing them to flexibly transform their networks. Operators can begin deploying VoIP features quickly and reliably, while controlling capital expenditures and consistently lowering operating expenses.”

Tekelec: www.tekelec.com