What happened

Shares of enterprise networking specialist Extreme Networks (NASDAQ:EXTR) gained 148.9% in 2017, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The former one-trick pony closed several acquisitions last year, creating a well-rounded network provider for the data center and kick-starting some fresh organic growth by the end of the year.

Extreme Networks' logo and tagline, Connect Beyond the Network, all in purple.

Image source: Extreme Networks.

So what

Between the fall of 2016 and October 2017, Extreme closed several strategic buyouts, including Wi-Fi specialist Zebra, networked storage expert Brocade, and jack-of-all-trades Avaya. The resulting mini-conglomerate covers every corner of the corporate data center's networking needs, with a healthy side order of longer-range metro networking tools. At the heart of it all, Extreme offers a suite of virtual network management software to organize it all.

Throughout this transformative year, Extreme exceeded Wall Street's earnings estimates in all four of its published quarterly reports.

Now what

These acquisitions are already making a difference.

The Brocade buyout alone is expected to add $230 million of additional revenue in fiscal year 2018, which ends on June 30. Before this buyout binge, Extreme's entire top-line take stopped at $528 million per year. The deal is also expected to deliver positive earnings and cash flow contributions from the get-go.

On top of the straight-up additional revenue from the recently acquired assets, Extreme is using its complete package of networking solutions as a selling point, reportedly stealing market share from Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) and HP Enterprise (NYSE:HPE). The big boys of data center networking are getting some new competition here, and Extreme's management deserves a fruit basket for its smart and swift integration of these buyouts.

Looking ahead, the stock is trading at just 12 times forward earnings, and Extreme Networks could be a great investment even if you missed last year's skyrocketing surge.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.