Tech industry's biggest M&A deals of 2009

Cisco, Dell and Oracle among the list of high-profile buyers in 2009

4. Cisco-Tandberg: $US3.4 billion

Cisco, already a major player in collaboration products with WebEx and TelePresence, signed an agreement in October to purchase videoconferencing vendor Tandberg, which makes both video devices and network infrastructure products. The acquisition, if completed, could have both a direct and indirect impact on Cisco's bottom line, because expanded use of videoconferencing may increase network traffic, letting Cisco sell more switches and routers.

The deal, announced in October, is still pending. Shareholders initially objected to the acquisition but Cisco now appears to have won enough support to complete the merger.

5. Cisco-Starent Networks: $2.9 billion

Cisco's multibillion dollar purchase of Starent, announced in October, boosts the vendor's IP-based mobile infrastructure for several types of wireless networks, including LTE and WiMAX. Cisco had already made an investment in WiMAX with the $330 million purchase of Navini Networks in 2007, and a supply contract with Clearwire in 2009. But LTE is gaining steam as well, with both Verizon and AT&T saying they will use LTE for their 4G networks. Starent's technology has been deployed by more than 100 mobile operators in 45 countries.

6. HP-3Com: $2.7 billion

HP is launching an assault on Cisco in the data center networking and convergence markets with its purchase of 3Com, a maker of switches, routers and security products. The deal, announced in November, gives HP a core switch, the H3C 12500, to compete against Cisco's Nexus 7000, as well as significant market presence in China. But the acquisition, which is facing a shareholder lawsuit, also suffers from overlap at the low end of the companies' switching lines and in wireless networking.

7. EMC-Data Domain: $2.1 billion

EMC had to outfox rival NetApp to make this top 10 list, as the storage vendor won a six-week bidding war to purchase Data Domain and gain new technology in the data de-duplication market. De-duplication helps companies save money by reducing data storage needs, which is why both EMC and NetApp believe it will play a major role in the storage market in the coming years. NetApp originally had a $1.5 billion signed agreement to purchase Data Domain, but EMC swooped in and kept raising the price until the smaller NetApp could no longer afford to stay in the bidding.

8. Emerson-Avocent: $1.2 billion

Emerson is expanding its IT operations management portfolio with the addition of Avocent, which makes software, hardware and embedded technologies designed to simplify management of complex data centers. Emerson said Avocent's configuration and monitoring technologies are complementary to its own power, energy management and cooling systems, and will thus help customers tackle the growing problem of energy inefficiency. The acquisition, which will also expand Emerson's capabilities in the KVM switching market, is expected to close around Jan. 1, 2010.

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