When Manulife's chief executive Donald Guloien addressed investors recently, he had two messages: The institution was cutting its dividend in half to build "fortress levels" of capital, and was looking for ways to fund future acquisitions.

Shoring up the balance sheet and absorbing new institutions while quickly deploying new communications technology across the enterprise requires a more manageable network infrastructure - the institution was working with about dozen carriers globally. So Manulife, the largest insurance company in North America and parent company to John Hancock Insurance, signed a five-year deal with Verizon Business to consolidate and standardize the $380 billion institution's networks, creating a single IP-based infrastructure connecting its regional networks in 15 countries and territories, giving more than 20,000 employees access to streamlined communications and a platform for further innovation.

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